Friday, August 13, 2010

11 Off My Head - There's Only 1 Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock is famed for doubling. His characters always have sinister twin-types lurking in the shadows, prepared to undo them. Think Bruno to Guy in Strangers on a Train, or Judy versus Madeline in Vertigo or Charlie and her Uncle Charlie in Shadow of a Doubt. Or Norman and his mother. Or the unnamed new Mrs. deWinter slipping into ol' dusty dead Rebecca's costume gown. Ghosts and mirrors and nuns stuttering once then twice out of the shadows! Here I was born and here I died, says the walking and talking and well-coiffed undead.

But since today is the 111th anniversary of Sir Alfred's birth, it only seems natural to focus on the singular. The things that there are only one of. So here's a list of 11 - I love Hitch and could probably come up with 111 if I wanted to take the time, but... well I don't want to take that time - totally random favorite things from Alfred Hitchcock's movies that are one of a kind! In no particular order.

Patricia Hitchcock - The official Patron Saint of MNPP, so awesome she's got her own place in the right-hand column of every page. Chubby Bannister forever! Pat was in three of Alfred's films - Stage Fright as my beloved Chubby, Strangers on a Train where her glasses made Bruno go batty for stranglin', and Marion's pill-poppin' coworker in Psycho - and in ten episodes of his show Alfred Hitchcock Presents. But mostly she's his daughter and his greatest champion, still doing interviews and promoting her pop's legacy. And I just recently read the book Pat co-wrote about her mother Alma and her legacy behind-the-scenes. She's her father's #1 fan and I am hers!

Cary Grant's suit in North By Northwest - Quite possibly the finest example of masculine costuming ever put on film. Perfect for tumbling through crops or hanging off the edge of Mt. Rushmore or romping in a sleeper car with an icy suspicious blonde all your own.

The fireworks in To Catch a Thief - Only rivaled by the train entering the tunnel at the end of NbNW for a great over-the-top Freudian chuckle.

The first time we see Kim Novak in Vertigo
and the red wall behind her just bursts with color

Doris Day's panicked scream-sing of "Que Sera, Sera" to find her kidnapped son in the 1956 The Man Who Knew Too Much (Oh and the way her husband Jimmy Stewart drugs her into submission!)

That time Perry Mason strangled a dog

Monty Clift sweating profusely in a priest's frock?
Sure! I'll take that.

"I think you're evil! EEEEVVVILLL!!!!" (slap)

In Notorious, the way that Madame Sebastien lights her cigarette in bed, as if this little old lady were about to kick James Cagney's ass across the prison yard

Farley Granger's tennis shorts

Knife!! blahblahblah Knife!! blahblahblah
Knife!! blahblahblah Knife!!

And now that I've done eleven I see that I really could just keep going on and on forever. I mean I didn't even get around to any of Edith Head's clothes for Grace Kelly or Eva Marie Saint or Tippi, I didn't mention the way Norman chomps those candies and the camera crawls under his neck to watch him chew, or the way Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman dance with the camera as they caress each other's lips so subtly for what seems hours... lord I could just go on forever. And I have! In some insane sort of karmic confluence, this is also the 111th post I have done on Alfred Hitckcock! Look:

Isn't that nuts? This means something. I best keep my eyes peeled for suspicious nuns and tie-stranglers.


Anonymous said...

As long as Doris Day is in there, the other 10 barely mattered :)

ShoNuff Lives said...

if only a snapshot of judith anderson talking about the first mrs. dewinter's undergarment, i'd pass out with joy at this post

Anonymous said...

I have a very bizarre connection to the number 11, so thanks for yet another daily affirmation that I will eventually become a loony numerologist.

But yeah, Hitchcock FTW! Heh.

Scott said...

Chubby! The red wall! I love this post.

J.D. said...

Mmm, Farley Granger's tennis shorts.