No. No Ben he is not. No. Stop it. Stop saying Hitchcock is rubbish.
It’s just that…
No. He wasn’t.
It’s just that…
Right, first off, I’ll admit that I haven’t seen that many Hitchcock films. I have, like a good boy, bought the box set with most of the big famous ones in but whenever I watch them I am so underwhelmed that it takes me ages to get round to the next one. Maybe the problem is that I keep going in with such high expectations… It’s just that…
OK, these are the Hitchcock films I have seen
1. The Lady Vanishes. And this one is brilliant. I’ll give you that. Silly, but in a good way, big, filled with great characters, and lots and lots of fun.
2. Psycho. So much of Psycho relies on you knowing nothing about it before you start watching it that it is inevitably a victim of its own success. Once the surprises are taken away from you, all that is left is a rather splendid soundtrack and some chocolate syrup. However, there is no arguing against it being an incredibly important film.
3. Marnie. I have tried to watch this at least twice, possibly three times, but Sean Connery is just there. He doesn’t do anything, I’m not sure he ever did anything until the 1980′s, which was his golden decade. No, he wasn’t the best Bond, or maybe he was but who cares because Bond is rubbish anyway. The bit of Marnie I have seen before falling asleep was just people being there, saying words at each other, looking at things or people or into space.
4. Saboteur. I tried to watch this yesterday morning. It goes on a bit. Unlike The Lady Vanishes, Saboteur introduces its cast of characters not in one setting but one after another, like a Dickens novel and (also like a Dickens novel) very often not with any other reason than why not? And of the fifth columnist films released in 1942 it runs a very very poor second to Went the Day Well? (though, in fairness, most films run a poor second to Went the Day Well?)
5. Vertigo. In 2012, the BFI’s critics poll named this the greatest film ever made. It isn’t. Is it? I think, perhaps, what draws critics so readily to it is that it is so obviously a film. From the ludicrous plot to the preposterously unreal scenery floating in the cars’ rear windows in the (very long) driving scenes, you are under no illusion that this is pretense. You do not lose yourself in Vertigo, you watch it. It is all surface. The characters are searching for an identity. Their emotions are fake. Nothing is real. The danger, of course, of falling in love with a film like Vertigo is that you start to see every flaw in it as a deliberate ramping up of this sense of unreality. The film can do no wrong. I hated it.
So, a great film, an interesting and important film, two films I didn’t enjoy and one I truly disliked. Where do I go from here? The films I have left in my box set are; Shadow of a Doubt, Rope, Rear Window, The Trouble with Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Birds, Torn Curtain, Topaz, Family Plot, and Frenzy. I also have copies of the original The Man Who Knew Too Much, Notorious and Spellbound that came free with newspapers and turned up in charity shops. Hitchcock fans, which should I watch next? I want to like Hitchcock. I really do. I want to watch Vertigo again and love it. Is that possible?
Tell me what to watch next. Tell me in my comments hole.