Thursday, September 11, 2008

top 10 greatest hitchcock moments

From The Times Online, 50 Most Memorable Hitchcock Moments. I've included the top ten below, but if you're a Hitchcock fan, the list is quite entertaining.

10. Rebecca (1940)
Maxim de Winter spills the beans: In a cottage on the Manderley estate, icy millionaire Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier) reveals to naive new wife Joan Fontaine that he despised the first Mrs de Winter – Rebecca – confessing to his part in her macabre death.

9. The Birds (1963)
Climbing frame: Beleaguered heroine Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) takes a cigarette break in the school playground. A lone crow sits on the climbing frame behind her. She lights up, then three, then four, then seven more birds land. Finally Melanie watches a flying bird swoop onto the frame, which is now home to a thousand sinister black crows. She flees.

8. Frenzy (1972)
Blaney’s revenge: Jon Finch’s hapless Blaney smashes an iron bar into the skull of the sleeping serial killer who framed him for murder, Rusk (Barry Foster), only to discover that it is the head of a murdered girl. This is Hitch at his most brutal and sadistic.

7. Vertigo (1958)
Judy falls from the bell tower: Detective Scottie (James Stewart), realising that lover Judy (Kim Novak) was involved in the murder that ruined his retirement, drags her up a convent bell tower. She confesses. They kiss. He’s about to forgive her when a spooky nun emerges from the shadows, scaring Judy off the tower. Hitch at his most callous.

6. Rear Window (1954)
Lisa is caught in Thorwarld’s apartment: Immobilised photographer L. B. Jeffries (James Stewart) sends his socialite girlfriend Lisa Fremont (Grace Kelly) into the garden of suspected killer Thorwarld (Raymond Burr) to dig for evidence. Lisa, however, sneaks into Thorwald’s flat. Thus, in a scene of nauseating tension, Jeffries can only watch as Thorwald returns, grabs Lisa and turns off the lights. [Side Note: I would've put the moment when Thorwald looks back at Jeffries as he's watching him higher on the list. That scene is super creepy.]

4. The Birds (1963)
Silent escape from Bodega Bay: After being pecked into a semi-delirious mess, Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) is carried very, very slowly by her boyfriend Mitch (Rod Taylor) and his icy mother Lydia (Jessica Tandy) out of their house and through a sea of cackling, squawking, homicidal birds. They slip into Melanie’s sports car and drive away very, very slowly.

3. Vertigo (1958)
Judy is transformed into Madeleine: Bullied by the unhinged former detective Scottie (James Stewart) into new hair, new clothes and new eyebrows, a brittle Judy (Kim Novak) emerges into her green-lit bedroom the spitting image of Scottie’s dead crush Madeleine (also Novak). Scottie, inflamed with morbid desire, gives Judy the creepiest kiss in movie history.

2. Psycho (1960)
The discovery of “Mother” in the basement
The most famous “jump moment” in Hitchcock’s oeuvre. We are Vera Miles’s eyeballs as she crosses the room in the basement and finds Mrs Bates sitting in a chair with her back to us. She reaches out her hand to touch the old woman . . . aaaaargh!

1. Psycho (1960)
The shower scene: One of the best known (and most influential) of Hitchcock’s scenes. Janet Leigh’s character takes a shower at the Bates motel, unaware that an assassin is creeping up to the curtain. The real horror comes from Bernard Herrmann’s shrieking violins as a silhouetted figure lunges at poor Leigh, helpless in the throes of the manic stabbing. The white light is blinding, every detail harsh. The dissolved edit between the plughole and Leigh’s eye is a thing of beauty.

No comments: