Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon Conclusion

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Well, ladies and gentlemen, Rob and I would like to thank everybody that got involved with this blogathon, those who watched films, contributed reviews, to those who read the vast amount of reviews that came forth in this project, and to all those who took the time to share their two cents with us. Thank you all very much for making this blogathon a success!

Rob, this was  a huge project to undertake, but it really came together well, so congratulations! :)

Here are all the films that were reviewed for the blogathon, as well as links back to the respective reviews. Again, a massive thank you to everyone, you guys rock!

The Pleasure Garden (1925) – Film Grimoire

Downhill (1927) – The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger

The Lodger (1927) – FilmNerdBlog

The Ring (1927) – Movie Rob

Champagne (1928) – The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger

Easy Virtue (1928) – Movie Rob

The Farmer’s Wife (1928) – Movie Rob

Blackmail (1929) – The Dirk Malcolm Alternative

The Manxman (1929) – Movie Rob

Juno and the Paycock (1930) – Movie Rob

Murder! (1930) – The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger

Rich and Strange-East of Shanghai (1931) – Movie Rob

The Skin Game (1931) – The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger

Number Seventeen (1932) – The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger

Waltzes from Vienna (1933) – Movie Rob

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) – Raging Fluff

The 39 Steps (1935) – Raging Fluff

Sabotage (1936) - Justine’s Movie Blog

Secret Agent (1936) – Movie Rob

Young and Innocent (1937) – Movie Rob

The Lady Vanishes (1938) – My Kind Of Movie

Jamaica Inn (1939) – Movie Rob

Foreign Correspondent (1940) – Movie Rob

Rebecca (1940) – Raging Fluff

Mr and Mrs Smith (1941) – Movie Rob

Suspicion (1941) – Life of this City Girl

Saboteur (1942) – The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger

Shadow of a Doubt (1943) – Popcorn Nights

Bon Voyage and Madagascar Landing (1944) – Movie Rob

Lifeboat (1944) – Vic’s Movie Den

Spellbound (1945) - Beanmimo

Notorious (1946) – No Nonsense With Nuwan Sen

The Paradine Case (1947) – No Nonsense With Nuwan Sen

Rope (1948) – The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger

Under Capricorn (1949) – The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger

Stage Fright (1950) – Movie Rob

Strangers on a Train (1951) – Cindy Bruchman

I Confess (1953) – Life of this City Girl

Dial M For Murder (1954) – The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger

Rear Window (1954) – My Mind Reels Through Film

The Trouble With Harry (1955) – The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger

To Catch A Thief (1955) – RobbinsRealm

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) – Digital Shortbread

The Wrong Man (1956) – Snap Crackle Watch!

Vertigo (1958) – Silver Screen Serenade

North By Northwest (1959) – Screenkicker!

Psycho (1960) – Alex Raphael

The Birds (1963) – Sidekick Reviews

Marnie (1964) – Cinema Parrot Disco

Torn Curtain (1966) – FlixChatter

Topaz (1969) – Movie Rob

Frenzy (1972) – The IPC

Family Plot (1976) – Tranquil Dreams

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Review: Dead Until Dark – Charlaine Harris

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Sookie Stackhouse is a waitress at the local bar in Bon Temps, Louisiana, called Merlotte’s. Everything is unassuming and normal, though Sookie struggles daily with what she perceives to be her affliction: she is telepathic. She uses inordinate amounts of energy to block people out, and lives with her grandmother, Adele. Sookie’s life is changed forever one night when vampire Bill Compton walks into the bar. She cannot hear any of his thoughts, and is somewhat relieved that she can let her guard down a little. He is also mysterious, and she likes that. However, at the end of the evening he leaves with a trailer trash couple, and Sookie caught a bad vibe from them. Following the couple out, she finds that they are draining the vampire, and she saves him. After that, Bill is sort of indebted to Sookie for saving him.

Though vampires have now stepped out in public, it does not mean that they are necessarily accepted in society, and Sam Merlotte, Sookie’s boss, worries about her spending time with a vampire. Sookie is extremely drawn to Bill, but the two are from two completely different times. Some vicious and violent murders have been happening around town, and it does not help that the victims were renowned for having spent time with vampires and being promiscuous. Things are looking bad when vampire punctures are discovered on the corpses, but even worse when the town relatiates. In the meantime, Sookie is irritated as hell that Sam waited all these years for Bill to step in before showing her that he has feelings for her, and she is irritated with Bill for being so distant and cold, though she is attracted to him. She is terrified and broken when whoever murdered the girls makes a play for her, and instead kills her grandmother.

After Adele’s passing, Bill spends more time with Sookie, who is falling completely in love with him, letting her guard down. When the murder investigations take detective Andy Bellefleur to Jacon Stackhouse, Sookie’s brother, she decides to investigate on her own, to show that neither Bill nor Jason could have been involved with the murders of the young women and her grandmother. Going to a vampire bar called Fangtasia, she meets with the owner, Eric Northman, to make some queries, and learns the scary lesson here that not all vampires are like Bill at all, and it frightens  her. Nevertheless, she wishes to clear the men in her life, and even starts to listen in on people more when Jason asks her to listen out for the real murderer. The town is seething over the murders, and are becoming increasingly hostile towards the vampires. It seems that soon they just might make a stupid play at them.

Will the townsfolk rebel and fight with the vampires? Will the tentative human/vampire peace fall away? Is the small town of Bon Temps cut out for a vampire? Who is killing the women in Bon Temps? Are they being killed because of vampire affiliation, or is there something else that connects these girls? Will Sookie and Bill ever have a decent relationship, or will something outside of them always get in the way? Will Jason beat the murder charges that the town is ready to pin on him?

GRADE 7.5I don’t even know how to explain this. I absolutely hate romance novels. They are so predictable and soppy and crap. But then I got a bee in my bonnet that all I wanted was something fluffy, useless, and light. A romance ticks all those boxes, but I was not up for something super mushy or anything. Then I remembered the Southern Vampire Mysteries that I had read a few years ago, and then just stopped, though I am  not sure why. Who knows, maybe I will get reacquainted with my reasons soon, or it is just one of those series that I lost track of. Well, it was what I needed. Not too steeped in the romance, and not with a story line that takes itself too seriously or anything, it was light and had more than just kisses, sex, and fights in it. Granted, Sookie is pretty average, getting huffy with Bill all the time and all that, but is less annoying than most characters in a romance novel. Plus there is the whole supernatural aspect to this that is pretty fun. I don’t know, don’t read these expecting something heavy or hardcore, but for light entertainment, they are worth the read. They flow and are very fast reads, so really not bad for what they are. Some of the characters are very entertaining, and the events keep you engaged. The progression is cool, and as an introductory novel, this was a rather decent first outing. I like the way Sookie finally finds someone she can be with, even though he is dead. It took me a while to get used to the concept of the vampires being known as well as the fact that they are marketing as an “affliction”. I can highly recommend you check these books out if you have not already, but not for mind-blowing reading or anything. I don’t think these books will really appeal to the male demographic, but who knows?


Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon: Topaz (1969) – Movie Rob

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Today I welcome Rob, my collaborator in this Alfred Hitchcock blogathon, and his final review of the films he was entrusted to watch is Topaz. Read on to find out what Rob thought of his last film!

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For my final review of a movie for our Alfred Hitchcock blogathon, I watched Topaz.

This thriller is based om a novel by Leon Uris who wrote some great books partially based on true events including Exodus, Mila 18, QB VII, Battle Cry, Trinity and The Haj.

I never read this novel, but the premise intrigued me quite a bit.

The story revolves around a French spy who tries to uncover what is going on in Cuba right before the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

As a spy thriller the plot moves along pretty slowly but if you wait it out, you will discover some very interesting twists and turns.

I liked the dual nature of the espionage portrayed and the fact that there were two stories taking place at once.

Hitchcock who was known for not always getting along so well with his writers clashed with Uris causing him to leave mid production leaving some scenes to be written right before being shot.

Hitchcock was criticized for not casting known stars on this film but I actually think that it works better this way.

I think this kind of spy thriller worked better in the 60’s, but is still enjoyable to watch now.

I think, that I’d actually be interested in now reading the novel this was based on.

Rating – Globe Worthy


Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon: Torn Curtain (1966) – Flixchatter

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Ruth from Flixchatter is joining us today for our Alfred Hitchcock blogathon, having picked a movie she had never seen before. Ruth runs a fantastic blog filled with awesome content, interesting questions, movie reviews, and an array of other material. I am sure you all follow Ruth as is, but those who do not, hop on over there and get involved! Ruth, thank you very much for taking the time to venture into unknown territory for us!poster

This review is part of this Hitchcock Blogathon hosted by Rob & Zoë.

An American scientist who pretends to defect to East Germany as part of a clandestine mission to obtain the solution of a formula resin and escape back to the United States.

I’ve been planning on catching up on a bunch of Alfred Hitchcock films. Now this one is perhaps one of his lesser-known films, or perhaps it’s not as popular as frankly, it’s just not a good film. The premise is actually intriguing, as I’m a big fan of spy thrillers, plus it has two famous classic actors: Paul Newman + Julie Andrews.

Well, as it turns out, the film started out slow and it never really picked up. My first issue is the casting of Julie Andrews. For some reason she just isn’t convincing in this role and there’s no chemistry between her and Newman, despite the film opening of the two making out in bed. Andrews looks so much like Maria Von Trapp in The Sound of Music that it’s somewhat distracting to me, I kept expecting her to burst into song or something. Newman fares a bit better but he’s not entirely convincing as a scientist either.

But the bigger issue is the lack of suspense, which in a Hitchcock film is a major no-no. There’s one fight scene that appeared in a lot of the film’s promotion, that is between Newman’s character and an East Germany officer assigned to track him down. The scene happens at a farm and there’s even a knife scene reminiscent to Hitchcock’s most famous film Psycho (1960) but again, totally devoid of suspense to me. In fact, the whole fight scene seems to have been choreographed in such an awkward manner that it made me laugh.

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To top it off, the two main characters aren’t that well-developed that it’s hard to feel anything for any of them. I was a bit intrigued by Tamara Toumanova’s casting as the ballerina. I knew that actress from seeing clips of her in Days of Glory (1944) which was Gregory Peck’s debut film. She looks pretty creepy in this one and that theater scene is perhaps one of the film’s most interesting but also weird scenes. Other than that, none of the cast really make an impression to me.

Interesting that this is Hitchcock’s 50th film, and audiences were highly anticipating this, especially since the spy genre was quite popular thanks to the release of James Bond’s Dr. No in 1962. I think the Cold War theme and story has a lot of potential but the execution is just meh. I wouldn’t call it horrible per se, but a huge disappointment considering the reputation of its filmmaker. Well reportedly the director himself didn’t enjoy making this, and clearly it showed. According to IMDb trivia, Alfred Hitchcock was so unhappy with this film that he decided to not to make a trailer with his appearance in it.

I suppose even one of the industry’s greatest auteur can’t hit it out of the park every time. I’m still looking forward to his other, hopefully better films I’ve missed out on.

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Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon: North By Northwest (1959) – Screenkicker Movies

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Michael of Screenkicker! joins us today in this huge Alfred Hitchcock Blogatathon. Michael managed to pull one of Hitch’s last few, probably a stronger pick seeing how the older films went. Irrespective of, Michael runs a pretty cool blog that you should get to checking, chock full of crazy Irish ramblings and reviews.

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My favourite thing about Alfred Hitchcock is that he could make any genre of film you could think of and make it great. Suspense, horror, romance, silent film, comedy and in the movie i’m writing about – action. North By Northwest is Hitchcock directing a big ballsy action flick and it stands up against any of his other masterpieces.

North By Northwest is about a man who is mistakenly identified by proper bad dudes who then chase him to claim a microfilm they think he has. It might sound simple but lookout for twists and turns in classic Hitchcock style. The man is named Roger O. Thornhill and he’s played by Cary Grant. It’s telling how charming Grant is that he manages to make an advertising executive likeable. Cary Grant is the epitome of style as he portrays a man in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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“I’m not falling for that old ‘look behind you’ prank.”

You can tell North By Northwest is a Hitchcock film due to a number of stylistic choices that are familiar to fans of his films. We have Eva Saint-Marie as a super hot platinum blonde mystery woman, we have a suave hero, and we have the obligatory Alfred Hitchcock cameo near the start. But this is primarily an action movie. Even if you’ve never seen it you probably know a lot of scenes from it due to all the homages and parodies over the years. The exhilarating chase scene with Thornhill being attacked by a crop duster is an iconic showdown that never loses its thrill.

North By Northwest is an example of a director given free reign to make the film he wants. Budget isn’t a concern as he throws huge set-pieces into the mix climaxing with a thrilling showdown on Mount Rushmore. The film was once described as ‘the first James Bond film’ a claim which is obvious from the cool leading man to the exotic locations and chilling bad guy played by the legendary James Mason.

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Don’t know why Roosevelt looks so miserable, I’d love to have Eva sit on my face.

If you haven’t seen North By Northwest then you need to remedy that quick-smart as this is Hitchcock at his most playful and populist. Watch as he lays down the template for Bond, Bourne, Reacher and any other action hero that has to look out for himself.


Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon: Vertigo (1958) – Silver Screen Serenade

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I am so thrilled today to be hosting the wonderful and delightful Cara of Silver Screen Serenade as a part of the massive Alfred Hitchcock blogathon which I am hosting with Rob. If you aren’t already following Cara, hop of over there right now, change that, then come back and read what she has to say about Vertigo. When you’re done, you can always go back and have a look see at the Shenanigans she gets up to.

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“Oh, Scottie. I’m not mad. I’m not mad. I don’t want to die. There’s someone within me and she says I must die. Oh, Scottie, don’t let me go.” – Madeleine Elster

Number of Times Seen – 1 (23 July 2014)

Brief Synopsis – “A retired San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend’s wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her.” (from IMDb)

My Take On It – Hitchcock Blogathon! Let’s DO this! I was so, so excited to hear that Rob and Zoë were doing this because I’ve only seen a couple of Hitchcock films (Psycho and North by Northwest), which is kind of unforgivable for a movie buff. Or at least I guess. I don’t know the rules. Haha. Whatever the case, it was high time I got around to one or two of his other films, and this was just the push I needed to do it. So thanks, Rob and Zoë, for a brilliant idea!

I have a confession to make: I’m kind of in love with Jimmy Stewart. I think I have been ever since I first saw The Philadelphia Story. Shortly after that, I watched It’s a Wonderful Life for the first time as well, and my love grew. Though his role in Vertigo is much darker than the aforementioned films, Stewart is equally fantastic in it. He has this undeniable likeability in just about anything he does—no exception here. As retired detective John a.k.a. Scottie (I’m still not sure why the latter is his nickname), Stewart is just so natural and believable. Once his obsession kicks in he’s a little lot creepy, but given the story behind that obsession, it’s kind of understandable.

As for the leading ladies, they certainly hold up, too. Right from the start, I adored the chemistry Stewart has with Barbara Bel Geddes, who plays Scottie’s good friend and one-time fiancée, Midge. I enjoyed their rapport so much that I was kind of hoping they’d end up together; in fact, I’m a little baffled as to why Midge called off their engagement all those years ago because they seem great together. But it’s pretty clear that Scottie only has eyes for Madeleine (Kim Novak), which is tricky territory since she is an old friend’s wife. Novak is fantastic as Madeleine—alluring and mysterious and vulnerable to perfection. The actress even has the challenge of playing dual roles…but that’s getting into spoiler territory, and I wouldn’t want to do that. ;)

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Here’s what I love about what I’ve seen of Hitchcock’s work: each film tells a gripping story. I don’t think his work will ever stop inspiring filmmakers. Vertigo is undoubtedly one of those inspiring films. The premise sounded intriguing to me, and it certainly delivered. Due credit to the writers for that. It’s as much a baffling mystery with a hint of the paranormal as it is a dramatic love story. It crescendos into powerful moments and then proceeds to outdo those moments with the next big twist. And can we talk about some of those twists?? Wait—nope. No, we can’t because that would be spoiling things! I’ll just say this: it reminds me of Psycho in that something huge happens somewhere in the middle of the film, which brings on what at first seems like an entirely new story. But it all comes full circle in the end with a shocking final punch. Seriously, I was left gaping at the screen saying, “Hitchcock! WOAH, dude!”

In addition to being a master storyteller, Hitchcock also has an excellent eye. The use of color and swirls in the opening credits is trippy but mesmerizing. I could say the same of a dream sequence Scottie has later in the film. And some of the shots! The ones in which Scottie suffers his bouts of vertigo are the best. Hitchcock stretches out the distant and makes you just as dizzy and nervous as the main character. The one at the beginning of the film is the best—Scottie hangs from a rooftop, watching in terror as a police officer who tried to help him plummets to his death. Simply put, it’s iconic. There are lots of moments like this throughout the film.

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If I have to pick on some things about Vertigo, I will say that it’s fairly slow-paced, but the payoff in the end is well worth it. Other than that, my only qualms involve Scottie’s relationships with the ladies. His relationship with Midge isn’t really addressed as much as I’d hoped it would be in the end; in fact, it pretty much fizzles out as soon as he meets Madeleine, and his relationship with her is a whirlwind. He later develops another relationship that’s strained to say the least—and that’s mostly his fault since he gets a little crazy. It takes away a smidge of his Stewart charm, though not enough to make you completely dislike him.

Bottom Line – Vertigo is considered one of Hitchcock’s best for good reason. It’s brilliantly woven and masterfully presented story that gets a reaction out of you. It’ll leave you guessing, and it’ll take you by surprise. Plus, Jimmy Stewart. ‘Nough said.

Rating – Oscar Worthy


Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon: The Wrong Man (1956) – Snap Crackle Watch!

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Joining us for the continuation of our Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon today is the massively talented and highly entertaining Melissa of Snap Crackle Watch! You should head over to her site if you don’t already follow her. She has freaking fantastic gifs in her articles (if ever you need a laugh), great movie reviews, and in depth series episode reviews, all well worth the read. I will stop rambling now and move over for Melissa’s review!

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The Wrong Man
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Maxwell Anderson & Angus MacPhail

To study and investigate Alfred Hitchcock’s movies, one has to imagine throwing a bunch of puzzle pieces on the table and pulling different pieces to create and shape a movie that is unmistakably a Hitchcock film. The usual elements are a story with some form of suspense weaved throughout the film, characters that are shown to be deeply and psychologically profound, a voyeuristic feel, a “MacGuffin” of some sort, the plot of murder or deceit, and actresses that were icy blonde and beautiful. Some of his most notable films that feature these elements are North by Northwest, Psycho, Vertigo and The Birds. In his most famous films, all of the puzzle pieces come together to create a beautiful piece of cinema. In Hitchcock’s 1956 film, The Wrong Man, he took some of his elements, but pared them down and gave the audience a much more subdued version of his usual type of film.

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In the mid-fifties, he was in the thick of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and this movie feels like just a longer version of one of those episodes. At the time he owed Warner Bros studios one more film and this is the one he chose to make. It is notable to understand that after this film, he created one of his best films ever, Vertigo for Paramount Pictures, so perhaps he was saving something much better for his move to a new studio.

In the beginning of the movie, Hitchcock tells the audience what they are about to see is a factual story; he says “every word is true.” This beginning monologue is the only time we see him in the movie; he usually made an infamous appearance in his films, always in the background of some sort, as a train passenger, a person waiting for a bus or someone walking around a store. The fact that he chose not to make this move, only serves to reiterate the fact this film felt like a story out of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

The story is about Manny Balestrero (Henry Fonda), a musician who plays jazz in New York’s Stork Club and who works diligently to make ends meet. His wife Rose (Vera Miles) at the same time is sick at home and needs to have her wisdom teeth pulled, but they do not have enough money to pay for the procedure. He has already taken money out of life insurance policy to pay bills and they must now resort to taking money out of wife’s policy. When he goes to the bank to do the transaction, the tellers get really nervous and freak out and alert the police. They believe and are certain that he is the man who had recently held up their bank.

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When the police apprehend him, they also are under the suspicion that he not only held up banks, but had help up a deli as well.  They put him through a string of reenactments; they make him walk in and out of the deli in question and subject him to handwriting analyses. Without a doubt everyone believes it was him who did it. During this tumultuous time, his wife has a mental breakdown as she believes she is the cause for all this that is happening to him.

To be succinct, Manny hires an attorney who helps him investigate and prove his innocence. When the robberies had occurred, he was actually out of town and he and his wife search for witnesses, but keep coming up short. It feels like the world is against them and with every wrong turn, Rose collapses deeper into despair. He is forced to put her in a mental hospital, so that she can get better. Eventually the real perpetrator is apprehended and it is obvious to everyone that he looks just like him and Manny is cleared of his charges.

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Despite being cleared, the person left the most hurt and psychologically damaged is Rose. She is really the poignant part of the story and her collapse truly lends to the Hitchcock element of the film.

The shots of her in her deepest moments of despair, she appears almost catatonic, are close-ups in a room, with a single shot of light coming through the window and a mirror appropriately placed near her. This reminded me of the scene in Vertigo where Judy (Kim Novak) realizes that Scottie (James Stewart) is just trying to dress her up and make her look like his long lost love. The whole scene is just as creepy as that one and they both encapsulate the feeling of catatonia that is very much distinctly Hitchcock.

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The movie ends on a somber note, Rose is still in the sanitarium, but then quickly as the film is about to end, we see the family walking off happily and we are presented with the fact that Rose later got out of the hospital and they lived happily ever after. I thought the presentation of that was pointless and it felt strange, after everything that happened to just throw a “happily ever after sticker” on it, seemed rushed and emotionless.

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The film utilizes many POV shots to get the point across and to help the audience feel the anxiety and nervousness that many of the characters are constantly feeling. For example, when the teller looks at Manny and thinks he is the robber, the camera goes back and forth from her face to Manny’s perplexed feeling as to why he is being looked out so oddly.

The music also plays a big role in the film, many times it feels ominous and scary like when Manny is in jail and is confused as to why he is being singled out. Also, Manny’s jazz music is dispersed into the film and this adds to the heightened, frenzied emotions in the film.

Fonda and Miles did a great job with their roles and really seemed to have searched deep to portray such psychologically tormented people. I am surprised that Fonda never appeared in any more of his movies, considering what a tremendous job he did. Miles was slated to become a big start after this; she did go on to star in Psycho years later, but her run as the next Grace Kelly was over before it started. I could go on and on about this and give you guys even more info, but then this will get extremely long.

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Overall, this was not one of my favorite Hitchcock films. I felt that the story was rushed and almost a copied version of the many thriller movies that evaded that time. Regardless, it is a Hitchcock film and if you haven’t seen this one already, it is worth giving it a watch and putting it under your belt. Personally, if you are new to Hitchcock I would not start off with this film. I would start off with Strangers on A Train (my fave), Notorious, Shadow of a Doubt or Rope as your introductory films into the Hitchcock repertoire. Happy Hitchcockian watching!

One of his best films to date.

One of his best films to date.

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}}Melissa


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