An English Master


I must confess that I have only seen a few Alfred Hitchcock films in my lifetime. I have seen Marnie, Psycho, The Birds, Dial M for Murder, Rebecca, Rope and North by North west. I have also seen the short film about murder with a frozen lamb joint. The film that I have not see is vertigo starring one of my favourite actors James Stewart. The reason this film comes to mind is because it reminds me of my current predicament. Don’t worry I’m not viewing you from my window and have no intention of doing so. I’m not suffering from agoraphobia, but I now rarely go outside due to my injured knee. I have become thoroughly bored despite having stacks of DVDs and working my way through the Cheers box set, which I got for my birthday. It’s funny that when you have time to watch your DVDs you don’t want to because there will always be another day, where as when you have no time you really fancy sitting down to a good film.

When you are stuck indoors you do start musing about the outside world and imagine what people are up to. I think everyone has a healthy fascination about other people’s lives. You hear arguments going on next door and you try not to listen, but you can’t help yourself listening to a few words. Im not saying you would put a glass up to the wall or get your binoculars out because that’s just weird, but there is that interest in what is going on. I believe that the film Vertigo takes this to the extreme although it starts with an innocent look. The man becomes obsessed with what is going on and what these people are getting up to. I believe it turns out that their acts are criminal and he starts off wanting to find out more, never intending it to take over his whole life. I do intend to watch this film because I believe Hitchcock is completely unique in his direction.

I watched The Birds and Psyco as a young child and they terrified me. The camera always seems to suck you In with Hitchcock so you are amongst the terror. The scene in the shower works so well because the victim is so helpless against the knife slicing down on her. The knife is always a far more emotional way of being killed on screen. It can take more than one cut, the victim has some hope of getting away and it can either make shallow or deep wounds. The fear is almost like the nightmare of a slow moving object or person moving towards you, but no matter how fast you run you cannot get away. Anthony Perkins was perfect as Norman, so creepy and strange especially in ladies clothing. Again black and white made the film that bit darker and scary. I think black and white could be used a great deal more in modern film making. The film Nebraska is a perfect example of how effective black and white film can be.

The Birds is another great film and the use of birds is pure genius because it plays on many people’s fears and it doesn’t feel like it’s beyond the realms of possibility. We have all seen a group of birds together, either on the ground or hanging around on telephone wires and felt a little threatened by them. If birds decided to turn on us then we would have very little chance to get away. The horrible thought of having your eyes pecked out by birds baying for blood is almost sickening. I do believe they used real birds when filming many of the scenes from the film which makes it even more harrowing. The sounds of the wings flapping was used to great effect, adding to the fear produced by the thought of wings flapping around you. Like the knife the birds are relentless, but there is still hope to get away, but you can’t. I have never been too keen on birds, but this film made me even less trusting of our wingered friends. I think this is my favourite Hitchcock film and one I never tire of seeing time and time again.

That’s just a small snippet of Hitchcock and I would love to hear your views on the great man and hear about your favourite Hitchcock film and why you love it so much.


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