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Published February 24th 2013
Don't let his fetish for blonde actresses put you off
The Master of Suspense
You might have seen the movie "Hitchcock" and wondered, "Are his films really 'all that'?" Sure, "Psycho" is pretty famous, and so is "The Birds" and "Rear Window" more through pop culture references than anything else. And "Vertigo" and "North by Northwest". But what about all the rest? He wasn't called the Master of Suspense because he made a handful of famous movies; this guy made a LOT. Many of them you probably haven't heard of and couldn't find in a local DVD store. My advice? Watch the famous ones. They're great, obviously. But then seek out a few of the slightly more obscure ones because they are well worth it.
Here is a list of my top five less famous Hitchcock films:
1) Stagefright: I feel like Stagefright is more filmic than some of Hitchcock's films- it goes along at its own pace and turns up the heat right at the end once you're well and truly hooked on Jane Wyman's innocent yet gutsy charm. The final scene is powerful. Look out for Hitch's and Alma Reville's daughter Patricia who features in it.
2) Rope: Not exactly obscure, but perhaps less known than it should be. Rope is shot in about four continuous takes, and plays out in real time which gives the film a play-like feel, but not in a stifling way. Jimmy Stewart and Farley Granger lead a small and well balanced cast of hosts and party-goers unaware of a dead body in a chest in the middle of the room.
3) The Lady Vanishes: Hitchcock espionage at its best! This is an earlier one of his that deserves a big shout for its influence on many more recent and less well executed films. A young woman doubts her own sanity when the old woman she befriended on a train completely disappears. There's some funny bits in it, too.
4) Young and Innocent: This one doesn't feature any big names but I think that works in its favour. You go into another world and become gripped in the adventure that two young innocents (hence the title) undergo when they are wrongly tied up in a murder. Unlike some of his bigger budget works, "Young and Innocent" isn't trying too hard.
5) Number five is a real toss up. I could say "Saboteur" because that's a good one, but I'm going to go beyond that and say "Rich and Strange" because it will be unlike any other Hitchcock film you'll see. It's not about murder or blackmail or even crime at all, really. It follows the happenings of a not-very-happily-married couple on a cruise ship that gets attacked by pirates. Most of the characters are pretty rich and strange and it's more of a social comment than a narrative drama. Worth a look, for sure.
If you're still not convinced, try the more mainstream "Dial M for Murder" (my fave), "Notorious" or "Strangers on a Train." And don't let the movie "Hitchcock" put you off his films.
I really wanted to see 'Hitchcock', but the film stopped showing at my cinema much earlier than I expected. He isn't particularly a director I like, but the film looked good. I have seen a few of his films - 'Psycho, Rope, and Vertigo.