JAMAICA INN (1939)

dir. Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock’s last British film before leaving for the U.S.A. Mostly dull, humorless film about some Cornwall based modern day pirates. There are some pretty incredible special effects showing ships being wrecked. One the leads, Charles Laughton later went on to direct one film in this career, THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955), which definitely has some Hitchcock influenced moments, I should have re-watched that film.

THE LADY VANISHES (1938)

dir. Alfred Hitchcock. Perfection. Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave are delightful, in this mystery almost entirely set during a train journey. The use of miniatures is marvelous, and blends in gloriously with the other filmed scenes, and some rear projection. There’s a lovely bit of comedy from the two traveling, cricket-mad, British gentlemen (comic duo Charters and Caldicott), who are forced to share the maid’s quarters – even the set of the room for those short scenes is amazing. A really wonderful example of earlyish Hitchcock, lots of humor from supporting characters, a tidy satisfying mystery, and moments of genuine suspense, and drama. Such a wonderful film. 

THE 39 STEPS (1935)

dir. Alfred Hitchcock. The movie that I use for my avatar, Robert Donat as Richard Hannay, a classic man-falsely-accused-of murder-on-the-run. Top tier Hitchcock. Full of many memorable scenes, close to perfection. Personal favorites are the cranky farmer with his young bride, the romantic elderly hotel owners, and the undergarment salesmen in the train. The escape across the Scottish Highlands is wonderful, with incredible sets and water features. Can’t stop whistling that tune. 

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951)

dir. Alfred Hitchcock. This has a lot more tennis that I remembered. The humor still works, with some surprising dark comedy at the end. Robert Walker is brilliant as the psychopath. I was saddened to read that he died shortly after the film came out in a drug overdose. The black & white cinematography is gorgeous, especially during the low lit scenes creeping around the grand houses. I’ll have to read the book which apparent has a different ending (no spoilers!).

MARNIE (1964)

dir. Alfred Hitchcock. If it wasn’t a follow-up to Psycho and The Birds, may be more fondly remembered. I loved Tippi Hedren’s performance, and Sean Connery just playing himself is always fun. Diane Baker is amazing, with perhaps the best bob hairstyle ever captured on camera? It’s a shame the restoration done for the Blu-Ray is so poor.