Since 1998, I have been maintaining a list of movies that I wanted to see. Sometimes these are all-time classics that passed me by, sometimes they’re genre classics that interest me. The list is updated regularly and is currently more than 1700 movies long. Fogs has gone through and hand-picked several classic films for me to “fast-track” and review here. This is one of those films.
Out of all the films reviewed here, Psycho may be the least in need of an introduction. Everybody knows Psycho, whether they’ve seen it or not. We all know about the shower scene. We all know the “Psycho strings” sound that goes with it. I’m not even sure it gets passed down, exactly; I think it spontaneously forms in peoples’ heads sometime in grade school along with the Jaws theme. It’s almost impossible to discuss Psycho without discussing the plot twists, but that’s OK because everybody knows the plot twists. It’s not even possible to surprise somebody with them by sitting them down to watch it without telling them and skipping over the title, because they’ll get to that shower scene and say “Oh, this is Psycho!” It’s hard to remember sometimes that this isn’t how Hitchcock intended it be. Continue reading →
An unfortunate event has forced me to move on an idea I’ve been mulling over as a companion to this column. In addition to films that I want everyone to know about, there are actors I think everyone should know as well. I hope to post every few weeks about an unsung hero of the acting world. I want to sing the praises of men and women who have made my movie going special over the years. I could amuse you with my man crush on Gene Hackman, or get you to see how sexy Susan Sarandon is. Maybe I can convince you to go back and revisit Claude Raines or Jean Arthur. All of them will be well known however and while I want to share my enthusiasm, I want to spark a little fire for those who never really get the spotlight. It is with sadness that I launch this series with a few words about the late Ed Lauter.
In 1954, Alfred Hitchcock released a movie about a man laid up after an injury, who may or may not have witnessed one of his neighbors disposing of a dead body. Starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly, two of the biggest stars he would ever work with, it would become one of the biggest hits of his career and go down in history as one the finest movies he ever made. It’s a film that’s not merely a murder mystery, but one absolutely rife with subtext.
Hey everyone, it’s Friday, time for another entry in the Reader Recommendations series!
The Reader Recommendation series is intended to help me formally pursue all the great films that commenters bring up each week in discussion which I’ve never seen. If there’s a movie that comes up that I haven’t seen, but you think I should, email me @ email@example.com or let me know in the comments that you’d like to participate!
This time up, our movie recommendation comes from Melissa Hunter of The Soul of the Plot! Melissa’s selected a classic Alfred Hitchcock movie for us, 1951’s “Strangers on a Train”!
I’m a big fan of Hitchcock, and have seen many of his films. But somehow this one has eluded me until now, so I’m all too happy that Melissa gave me the opportunity to formally check it out!
“Hitchcock”, in part, tells the story of the making of Alfred Hitchcock’s most controversial and most successful film, “Psycho”. It also portrays a period of strain in his marriage to his wife, Alma Reville, brought on by the Great Director’s obsession with the project.
Featuring two awards calibre performances by Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren in the lead roles, “Hitchcock”, I’m sad to report, is weighted down by some unfortunate creative choices and (ironically for a film about Hitchcock) an overall lack of suspense.
The year is 1960. It’s an election year. Kennedy narrowly defeats Nixon. The civil rights movement is underway. Elvis returns from Army Duty. He would chart a major number one song that year with “Are You Lonesome To-night?” Meanwhile, “The Beatles” are still playing in Germany. It is the first appearance of a U.S. flag with 50 stars, Hawaii having achieved statehood in the previous year. The Flintstones and the Andy Griffith show make their first appearances. “Gunsmoke”, “Father Knows Best” and “Dennis the Menace” are all top 20 tv shows. “Leave it to Beaver” is in the middle of its six-year run. The highest grossing movie of that year? Disney’s “Swiss Family Robinson”.
Into this Americana mix, Alfred Hitchcock released Psycho. A tale about Norman Bates.
SPOILERS BEYOND! IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN PSYCHO, KEEP OUT!!