Alfred Hitchcock on the set of Frenzy, 1971
I only have access to what we call “Standard Basic Cable” TV in the San Francisco Bay Area so I don’t watch a lot of television because there isn’t a lot to watch. The only semi-24-movie channel I get is AMC and this week they’re offering viewers a spectacular Seven Nights of Hitchcock. Since Hitch is one of my favorite directors I couldn’t be happier. I’ve decided to try and spend my evenings this week getting re-acquainted with a lot of his films since many of my favorites are included in the great line-up AMC has scheduled.
Last night I watched The Birds and Rope again. I’ve seen both films countless times but I never get tired of them. The suspense Hitchcock manages to conjure up in Rope is suffocating at times and the script has an incredible rhythm that I always find really mesmerizing. It’s the perfect example of “less can be more” when it comes to great filmmaking. John Dall, Farley Granger and James Stewart are all really terrific and together they seem to make up some kind of perfect unholy trinity that always astonishes me. Rope also has one of my all-time favorite Hitchcock film endings. I always get chills when Stewart turns his back to the camera and red lights flicker and fill up the small apartment as sirens are heard in the distance.
As for The Birds, I love the ambiguous story and the way it plays out. Tippi Hedren is absolutely terrific in it and I’ve always thought she was an underrated actress. Like most of Hitchcock’s films, Rope and The Birds are both loaded with sexual innuendos and an uneasy eroticism that really appeals to me.
Publicity shots from The Birds (1963) and Psycho (1960)
Hopefully I’ll find the time to write-up a few more thoughts on some of his films in the future, but in the meantime here’s a list of my personal 15 Favorite Hitchcock Films. I was only going to post a Top 5, but Hitch deserved better than a measly 5 because he’s made so many films that I appreciate so I’m sharing my 15 Favorite Hitchcock Films instead. They’re listed alphabetically and I didn’t bother numbering the list because their numerical order isn’t significant. The impact of every Hitchcock film changes for me with each viewing. Some films grow in stature while others might lose some of their original lustre but these 15 remain my personal favorites . . . for now.
The Birds (1963)
Dial M for Murder (1954)
Foreign Correspondent (1940)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
North by Northwest (1959)
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
The Trouble with Harry (1955)
Is anyone else enjoying AMC’s Seven Nights of Hitchcock as much as I am? Feel free to share your own list of Top 5 or Top 15 Favorite Hitchcock films below if you’re so inclined.