Tag Archives: Alfred Hitchcock

Foreign Correspondent

1941

directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Are we developing a theme for Hitchcock movies? Nah, but what of it? : ) Anyways, this is the other 1941 Hitchcock film, mentioned in the Rebecca post.  I think.  And if the picture shows up big enough, then you can see that George Sanders is in it. Yay! George Sanders! He’s a good man.

This film is basically a propaganda film for the west.  To keep your chin up about the war.  And to introduce…err.. keep up to date  American audiences to the war.   Joel McCrea stars as the titular foreign correspondent, though I didn’t really care for him.   Laraine Day though was a super babe.  Mrs. Brooklyn Dodgers.  or Mrs.  New York Giants. … no it was Mrs. Brooklyn Dodgers.  She was married to the manager of the team.  And now I’m going to go look this up and make sure I’m right about that.   A rare baseball – Hollywood crossover.  And it was New York Giants.   Okay anyways.

Plot wise, it’s pretty solid for the first Act and a half.  Some mistaken identity, body doubles, vague morality, villians masked as heroes, heroes masked as villians.  Overall, some textbook action, mystery, and suspense stuff.  Then, there’s  the Plane Crash.  Totally out of left field, and totally worth seeing it just for this.  I mean, it’s obvious it’s on a set , but it’s still totally cool how they film it and destroy/flood the plane.

A solid Hitchcock film, Sanders is exemplary.  Laraine Day is a fox, and Nazis are bad.

Underrated Actors: Obviously the two aforementioned.

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Rebecca

1940

directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Oscars: Best Picture, Best Cinematography – Black & White

There are great disservices in our day to day lives.  We all have to put up with annoyances caused by others and take it in stride most of the time.   It’s part of being human.  Today, I’ve done a great disservice by not reviewing this sooner.  It’s probably been a month since I watched Rebecca, and it’s one of those that I want to get just right because it blew me away.  This was honestly one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.

Wow.

Lofty words.  Now the cynics in the crowd are probably just muttering that it’s because Joan Fontaine is in it.  And on first glance, this is what made me dive in and grab it.  Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that Olivier is in it, and it’s directed by Hitchcock.  So it’s got that going for it.  On top of that , Best Picture 1940, beating out Philadelphia Story and Kitty Foyle (reviewed on this site) Foreign Correspondent (in my queue), Grapes of Wrath, and other great films (I’m assuming).  So it’s got the critical pedigree.

It’s honestly a movie that I don’t want to really get much into plot-wise because the plot is just too damn good to gloss over.  It starts a bit like Suspicion (another Fontaine-Hitchcock vehicle) in that it’s really going well for Fontaine (great wardrobe in this), but quickly gets weird for her, and then things start going wrong.  But again, it’s a Hitchcock picture, so it’s more just tension and psychological toying.  But unlike other Hitchcock pictures, the overall morality of Olivier’s character, along with the other pseudo-villains, is not over-the-top, black & white, or unbelievable.  And George Sanders is in it.  And as a general rule of thumb, everything the man is in is pretty pretty good.  It’s even got a costume party and an inquest. Only included that because I wanted to type inquest.    Hah, anyways.  Definitely see this movie.  A great one.

 

Underrated Actors:  George Sanders as Jack Favell


Suspicion

1941

directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Oscars: Best Actress – Joan Fontaine

 

Cary Grant film #41 of 74.   Grant plays a roguish playboy (I’m seeing a theme to the parts the man gets).  Being a Hitchcock film, the plot is a bit nuanced for the general paintstrokes I’m going to give it, but it’ll have to suffice for now.  Fontaine (a babe) (an unnecessary paranthetical) plays a timid naive bookish girl, Lina, still living with her parents in their gigantic home.  Grant, it is assumed, is broke and latches on to her money/her almost immediately.  But the beauty of it is that’s not how the film, to me, played out in the first 20 minutes.  It was more like a genuine love story, and you were wondering…wait…this is a Hitchcock film, something has to go horribly wrong.  And then it just starts getting worse and worse for Lina.  First she finds out that Johnnie (Grant) is broke and assuming that she will pay for everything.  As things spiral down, people start dying, and Lina thinks she’s next.  However, the ending was totally confusing, and I was left scratching my head.  Soooo, did he want to kill her? …. or not?  Boom, Suspicion.

Grant, as a definite departure, played a convincing menace/not?menace.  I’ve read since that the studio made Hitchcock change the ending of the film, well that makes a little more sense.  As a retrospect I think people can swallow Cary Grant murdering someone, but at the time midway through his career, he had that laughable, carefree, comedic image to keep up with people.  So there’s that.  Also Joan Fontaine, my oh my, what a babe.  Great hairstyles, great dresses, great, great, great acting.

Underrated Actors: well Fontaine won Best Actress, so she’s not underrated… let’s go with Nigel Bruce as Beaky, who kept referring to Johnnie as OB or ‘Ol’ Bean’ and Lina as ‘Ol’ Girl’