Ok, I’m writing this blog as a critique of my top 10 Hitchcock movies. I’ve watched almost all of his masterpieces and I like to write a review for people who would want to start watching his movies because he’s damn good at making movies. Also, this is specifically for Jamila who I hope will write her top ten so we could compare reviews. It is very hard to make a top 10 because there are some really good ones. But these are the ones where I can watch over again. I have an infinite love for every single film on the list. Some are interchangeable (very much so cause I still can’t decide which ones are better), but enjoy nonetheless.
10. NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959)
As my personal opinion, I think “North by Northwest” is the best of all of Hitchcock’s “innocent man wrongfully accused” themes. Seeing his other similarly themed movies like “Young and Innocent” and “The 39 Steps” are overkill, but I would gladly watch “North by Northwest” over and over again. Hitchcock excels in suspense, comedy, and casting. He cast the legendary Cary Grant as an unfortunate advertising agent who is mistaken as foreign spy. The government chases him all over country and each scene is considered a classic. From Cary Grant as a drunk driver to the often-imitated scene of Grant running from a crop duster to the finale on top of Mount Rushmore, “North by Northwest” is full entertainment that deserves a title as one of Hitchcock’s finest films. As yet a side note, the dialogue is crisp and witty, Eva Marie Saint as Grant’s lover is perfect, and Bernard Hermann’s classic score leaves the audience in an unpredictable state of mind with a feeling of epic grandeur. Simply put, North by Northwest is a cinematic masterpiece.
09. MARNIE (1964)
This is movie is great because it has a great performance from Tippi Hedrin and Sean Connery. The movie’s about a young woman who is a kleptomaniac, a thief, and a compulsive liar. Her mind is deeply troubled when the audience finds out about her outbursts with the color red and her frigid demeanor to men. Sean Connery plays a man who discovers her troubles and wants to help her, but he blackmails Tippi into marriage. They go through a long journey together but the climax is well-worth it when he delves into Tippi’s past. I also recommend this film for Bernard Hermann’s music score. The music soars and complements the movie.
08. REAR WINDOW (1954)
Ah, a great movie that delves into voyeurism and its intense psychological matter. Actor James Stewart plays a bored, disabled photographer that starts viewing his neighbors through his telescope. When he suspects his neighbor from across his apartment of murder, the movie progresses into suspense. The casting of Grace Kelly, future princess of Monaco, as Stewart’s girlfriend helps the film with beauty and elegance. The camera angles are claustraphobic because the director wanted to use angles that have a voyeuristic appeal and can only be seen through the perspective of James Stewart’s crippled character. Is there a murderer across the apartment or his James Stewart really crazy? You really have to watch the movie to know how it all ends.
07. THE BIRDS (1963)
What would happen if nature struck humanity full force? Well, Hitchcock gives the audience a great interpretation of an apocalypse led by vicious birds. The story is about a San Francisco girl played by Tippi Hendrin who pursues a guy. She follows him to his tiny Northern California town which starts to be ravaged by unforgiving birds. The suspense builds as the birds attack, kill, and cause pandemonium. The final scene is thrilling with an ambiguous ending: Hoards of killer birds appearing outside your house as you enter your car? No thanks.
06. ROPE (1948)
One of Hitchcocks most underrated films that deserves more recognition. Based on a play, Rope is about two young male students (Farley Wrangler and John Dall) who commited a murder because they want to know a feeling of excitement and superiority. They cover the body in a trunk and then have an unsuspecting party with the dead man’s family. They hoping no one suspects. But their professor, played by James Stewart, has a hint of their ploy and the murder is unraveled. What I like about this movie is the camera technique of filming each scene in segments lasting to about 10 minutes. The movie is shot in real time and each segment is effortlessly blended together as if there was no cut. The killers bring up the idea of the ubermesch, which is very disturbing and simulatenously interesting. Many fans of the play may be enthusiastic to know that Hitchcock keeps the taboo of homosexuality in tact. The two students are former lovers and the professor supposedly had an affair with one of the students. A daring movie already with its subject and camera techniques, Rope deserves to be watched by any fan of Hitchcock.
05. PSYCHO (1960)
Now this film is considered a great movie of film history. The film is about a young woman (Janet Leigh) who steals a large sum, runs off, and stumbles upon a motel manager (Anthony Perkins) who happens to be very close with his mother. Considered a turning point in film history, Psycho incorporates European art films and the French New Wave and creates a feeling of uncertainty and anxiety. Bernard Hermann’s score alone is frighteningly scary, especially during the chilling shower scene. The first time I watched it, I thought the ending was so twisted. I don’t want spoil the movie for people who haven’t watched it, but if you’re a Hitchcock fan and a film fanatic, Psycho is a must-see. The movie only gets better after repeated viewings.
04. VERTIGO (1958)
One of my favorite Hitchcock films, Vertigo is a great film because it is a dark film that really delves into obsession. The story starts off as James Stewart playing an agoraphobic detective who watches over a friends wife (Kim Novak) that may be possessed. The story takes place in San Francisco and I found this very enjoyable since I live in San Francisco. You could spot the Palace of Fine Arts, Mission Dolores, the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, and Chinatown. Vertio presents many plot twists and is considered to be reflective of Hitchcocks obsession over his blonde actresses. Considered a failure during its original release, Vertigo has become a classic film through time with its dark tone and complexities.
03. NOTORIOUS (1946)
Down to my top three, Notorious is a superb film because of its star power: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains. Notorious is about a woman who must spy on a group of Nazis in South America who possess uranium. The uranium is irrelevant to the plot because it cleverly focuses on Grant and Bergmans romance. These people really have a spark that is great to watch onscreen. Claude rains plays the jealous and villain who has a strange attachment to his mother. Great suspense with the wine cellar scene and Claudes character to attempt to kill Ingrid Bergman slowly. The ending is very satisfying and can be watched multiple times. The only film worth buying for $60.
02. TO CATCH A THIEF (1955)
Considered one of my top films because the movie stars Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. These two actors have great chemistry. Grant is witty and debonair while Kelly is the most alluring I’ve ever seen in any of her films. The main plot is about a former thief wrongfully accused. He then is on a quest of crimes to find the real culprit with the aid of Grace Kelly. The setting is in the French Riviera and is beautiful scenery to view. Hitchcock perfectly blends romance, humor, and intrigue in one film.
01. STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951)
My absoulte favorite because Strangers on a Train perfectly blends film noir elements in the cinematopgraphy while presenting a suspenseful plot. The movie revolves around two strangers who meet on a train and decide to kill each other’s wife/mother. One man keeps the end of the bargain while the other bails out. What follows is intrique that leads to a climatic confrontation at a circus. Perfect in every shot.