Last night, I watched Hitchcock’s ultimate suspense film Rope for the first time! It’s definitely near the top of my favourite films by this legendary director. In fact, it probably shares the top spot with Rear Window, although there are still many that I haven’t seen. I just love a film that’s set in a single location!
Jimmy Stewart has become one of my favourite actors in the last couple of years and he proved as excellent as ever in Rope. I’ve also found two new actors to look into in the leads; John Dall and Farley Granger. Both seem to have had good careers, but I don’t think I’ve seen either in anything else.
For those of you that live near London, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch are putting on a production of the play from late February to early March 2018. The show follows a string of collaborations between the two venues (New Wolsey Theatre), including the regional premiere of Made in Dagenham last year… As was announced last month, Queen’s Theatre has been selected to partner with the National Theatre for the Public Acts initiative, bringing in regional talent and hosting it on the National’s stage. – What’s on Stage
It took a mischievous genius to make a post-WWII movie with subtle queer characters. Brandon and Philip’s special bond is apparent only to those mature enough to spot their intimacy. – Out Magazine
I’m pretty late to the party, but last night I finally got round to watching The Birds, the Hitchcock film based on Daphne du Maurier’s story of the same name (first published in The Apple Tree).
It stars Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedren, both intriguing but slightly unlikable, at least in these roles anyway. The film begins with sweet little lovebirds and a wealthy woman with stalker-like behaviour (Hedren) and ends with murderous crows and seabirds.
The women of the film are intriguing and at times it can be hard to judge what the bird-loving Hitchcock or Hunter were getting at with these characters. Perhaps that’s why they made Taylor’s character so bland. I must admit, it was no Vertigo, but I still really enjoyed The Birds.
It is one of the most disturbing sequences in cinematic history: a woman tiptoes through a house until – in three staccato shots – she discovers the bloody corpse of its occupant on the bedroom floor, his eye sockets two black holes dripping with gore. – Telegraph
In this film, the female lead, Melanie Daniels is standing outside and you can see the playground behind her gradually filling up with birds. This could be perhaps my favorite scene in movie history. This scene is the best example of montage or Mise En Scene I could think of. Hitchcock was extremely impressive in his dramatic techniques. It helped to build the tension which also made this film horror and suspense. – Lighting the Birds
Hitchcock initially wanted his 1950s leading lady Grace Kelly for the role of Melanie Daniels, but after she married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956, she retired from acting and declined all offers to return to Hollywood. He’d also sought Anne Bancroft for the role, but even with his expansive budget, he couldn’t afford her. Others on his wish list included starlets Sandra Dee, Carol Lynley, Yvette Mimieux, and Pamela Tiffin… He discovered his eventual leading lady, Hedren, a model with no acting experience, when he spotted her in a TV commercial for a diet drink during NBC’s “Today” show… The director initially wanted Joseph Stefano, his “Psycho” screenwriter, to return for “The Birds,” but Stefano wasn’t interested in the story. – Movie Fone
Hunter began working on the screenplay in September 1961. He and Hitchcock developed the story, suggesting foundations such as the townspeople having a guilty secret to hide, and the birds an instrument of punishment. He suggested that the film begin using some elements borrowed from the screwball comedy genre then have it evolve into “stark terror”. This appealed to Hitchcock, according to the writer, because it conformed to his love of suspense: the title and the publicity would have already informed the audience that birds attack, but they do not know when. The initial humor followed by horror would turn the suspense into shock… Hitchcock at later stages consulted with his friends Hume Cronyn (whose wife Jessica Tandy was playing Lydia) and V.S. Pritchett, who both offered lengthy reflections on the work… The director commissioned Sala and Remi Gassmann to design an electronic soundtrack. They are credited with “electronic sound production and composition”, and Hitchcock’s previous musical collaborator Bernard Herrmann is credited as “sound consultant”… Source music includes the first of Claude Debussy‘s Deux arabesques, which Tippi Hedren’s character plays on piano, and “Risseldy Rosseldy”, an Americanized version of the Scottishfolk song “Wee Cooper O’Fife“, which is sung by the schoolchildren. – Good old Wikipedia