Alfred Hitchcock is known as the “master of suspense”, and he’s well deserving of the title. Hitch was an unparalleled creative genius who was ahead of his time. His complete body of work is impressive, but I managed to pick my top 10. Here we go!
10. Shadow Of A Doubt (1943)- This noir thriller centers around a peppy teenager named Charlie, who lives in California. She learns that her beloved uncle is coming to town for a visit. Charlie is beyond hyped to see him because its been awhile. Unfortunately, her uncle has a few hang ups… unbeknownst to his family.
9. Vertigo (1958)- In this beautifully shot film, a retired San Francisco detective is hired by an old acquaintance to follow his wife. Scottie’s (retired detective) professionalism soon runs out the door! He falls madly in love with the woman he was hired to watch, and then things start getting interesting. Vertigo is a complex film with elements of love, obsession, phobias, mental health, and betrayal. At first I didn’t dig this film; I just couldn’t get into it, but once I understood what it was really about, I loved it!
8. Spellbound (1945)- Spellbound was one of the first films to focus on mental illness, and psychoanalysis; pretty heavy subjects for the forties. The head of a mental hospital retires, his replacement Dr. Anthony Edwardes isn’t who he says he is. Dr. Edwardes’ colleague, Dr. Constance Petersen, begins to notice a few inconsistencies in the devastatingly handsome doctor. Starting to figure out the identity of Dr. Edwardes is when this film really gets going.
7. North By Northwest (1959)- North By Northwest is the first film on the list starring Cary Grant, who was a constant collaborator with Hitch. Cary also happens to be one of my most adored actors. Cary plays an advertising executive named Roger Thornhill who is kidnapped due to mistaken identity. A group of spies believes that Roger is a government agent, a guy named Kaplan. Roger manages to escape his captors, but is then chased around the country. This film is an action packed thriller that won’t disappoint!
6. The Birds (1963)- The Birds was the first Hitchcock film that I remembered seeing on TV, so it has a special place in my heart. The film is about a series of unprovoked bird attacks in a peaceful California town. I love that it’s never explained why the birds lost their shit. Real birds and robotic birds were both used in the film. I can’t really tell which is which to be honest. The Birds is a great introduction film for someone unfamiliar with Hitch’s work.
5. Rebecca (1940)- Rebecca is a dark and atmospheric film that’s a thriller/mystery. An unnamed woman meets and falls in love with a handsome widower, named Maxim. They get married and move into Maxim’s massive estate. Once the couple arrives you realize there’s a lingering presence in the house. Rebecca was Maxim’s wife who died, and essentially the house still belongs to her. I mean her personal belongings are all throughout the house, and she still has a hold on some of the staff. The second Mrs. DeWinter (again we never get a name for the lead character) feels inadequate from the start; like she can’t compete- or compare, to Rebecca. But was Rebecca really the incredible woman that everyone believed she was? Rebecca is a multi-layered story that will leave you shocked, and pleasantly satisfied.
4. Rear Window (1954)- Although it’s a serious thriller I feel that this is a fun film, it shows how voyeuristic people can be. A photographer breaks his leg and is bound to a wheelchair. For entertainment he watches the other tenants who live in apartments across the courtyard. One night the photographer hears a woman’s scream, along with the breaking of glass, and is convinced that something horrible went down in one of the apartments. Is our protagonist’s imagination running wild, or was there really a sinister happening across the way?
3. Suspicion (1941)- Suspicion is the ONLY Hitchcock film that I would love to see remade. It’s about a shy, wealthy woman (Lina), who falls for a charming playboy (Johnnie). Now Lina really thought she’d won the lottery with sexy Johnnie, but after they’re married she finds out that he’s broke as hell! In addition Johnnie is a gambler, and thinks he’s too good to work. The story soon takes a menacing turn, but you have to see for yourself. Amazing movie!
2. Psycho (1960)- A real estate secretary wants to marry her lover, but he feels that he’s not financially stable enough. Attempting to help their situation, Marion Crane steals money from a client, goes on the run, and then ends up at an isolated motel off the highway run by Norman Bates. Psycho was a revolutionary film. Not only is the classic credited with pioneering the slasher film trend, but it was also one of the most profitable low-budget films of all time. There were many components that made this film memorable: the iconic shower scene, the haunting musical score, the filming techniques. Psycho is everything!!
1. Notorious (1946)- Notorious speaks to the romantic that lives within. Love is a major theme of this film. Alicia Huberman is the daughter of a disgraced- and convicted, Nazi spy, and T.R. Devlin is an agent for the American government. Devlin is hired to get Alicia to infiltrate a group of Nazis located in Brazil, and basically seduce their leader for info. The exact nature of the job is a major complication because Alicia, and Devlin had fallen in love. Devlin doesn’t want Alicia to go through with the job, but he doesn’t stop her either. The audience watches as the couple deals with the consequences of their choices. I could gush about this film all day, but I’m trying to keep it cool. This isn’t just my fav Hitchcock film, but also one of my fav films of all time.
So what are your favorite Hitchcock films? I would love to know! Thanks for checking out my post. 🙂
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