[Inspired by post Alfred Hitchcock: Man or Beast on the secret keeper 11/10/12]

hitchcock-movie poster

Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most famous directors in movie history. The Girl, a cable movie, elaborates on Hitch’s unrequited lust for Tippi Hedren, who portrayed Melanie Daniels in The Birds and the title character in Marnie. Tippi Hedren vehemently rejected Hitchcock’s not subtle advances. Tippi’s daughter, Melanie Griffith, reportedly, received the fall-out of Hitchcock’s cruelty. When she was a young girl, a doll of her mother was sent to her. Her mother was presented as a corpse, lying in a coffin. Hitch’s nature never appeared in similar outrages in the film Hitchcock. Watching this film, appealed to my feelings to reevaluate my opinion of Alfred Hitchcock.

10 hitchcock-with-tippi-marnie

Hitchcock, the film concentrates more on Hitch’s marriage to his former boss, a screenwriter and editor, Alma Reville. The film presents Alma [Helen Mirren] as the major influence of his life, professional and personal. She guides him as a decision maker, inspiration, and best friend. She helps him decide what film choices he should consider. When the book Psycho comes along, she suggests another script he should look at from a friend of theirs. Hitch already has his eyes on the book his secretary, Peggy [Toni Collette], brings to him, even though she feels it’s disgusting.

hitchcock hopkins holding psycho book while sitting

Hitchcock [Anthony Hopkins], has a list of films remembered today with a sense of familiarity. The list includes such greats as Rebecca, Notorious, Spellbound, Strangers on a Train, Dial M for Murder, Rope, Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, Vertigo, and his greatest popular success at that time North by Northwest (1959).

It seems the critics, at the time, felt when North by Northwest was released, Hitch was getting too old and should retire. He was only 60. Who loses the ability to create at that age? Hitch wasn’t about to take these remarks and surrender by giving up. They made him want to fight and feel more determined to prove all his critics wrong. A force was alight in his soul and heart. Hitch was about to find the best story yet. He would prove to the critics and to himself, he still had the “fire in his belly.” His obsession began to grow for Robert Bloch’s book Psycho based on the life of the Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein.

Everyone tried to talk him out of using Psycho. It was too horrible. Not something anyone had ever seen in a film up to that period of time. The shower scene itself was enough to disturb the censors. But first he must get it past the studio heads at Paramount. Alma’s suggestion of their friend’s story brought out the vitriol in Hitch. He felt it had no life in it. Rejected the thought of it outright. Since Hitch was determined to make the film Psycho, Alma joined in on the decision making. First she tells Hitch to kill off the main character in the first 30 minutes of the film. It would be shocking. A major actress playing the main character dead by the end of the first act. It would be seen as totally outrageous. No one would expect it. No one does that.

Psycho (1960) poster

What Hitch has in mind to change for the film from the book is macabre but it seems perfect. No one agrees. His agent is against the idea. Paramount absolutely refuses to let Hitch make the film, even though the studio earned a fortune off of Hitchcock films in the past. Alma hates the idea of Psycho. It is too disturbing and gory. Hitch has to come up with a plan, convince Alma to see what he sees in the story, and sell the idea of using their home to finance the film. Alma does eventually see her husband needs to do this film. Their home and pool is beautiful and would be a major sacrifice but eventually Alma agrees, it is their only alternative.

I came to the film Hitchcock with no pre-expectations of what it would be. Seeing the relationship between Hitch and Alma was fascinating. All along I saw Hitchcock as the creator of his films, never considering the major influence in his life was his wife. Her decisions are absolutely paramount to the success of Hitchcock’s films. She started out being his boss when they met. He needed to become an assistant director before he would even ask her out. Alma is a very strong character and equal in her ability to work on the same level as Hitch himself.

Now that the financing is covered, Hitch and his agent meet with the studio head of Paramount. At first, he still refuses to give Hitch the go ahead to use Paramount. Hitch’s agent talks a deal and eventually they hit on a final agreement, 60%, just want Paramount to distribute. Deal.


Psycho – Film Trailer [50th Anniversary] HD

There is a story going on around what Hitch is doing with the making of Psycho, which is becoming an extreme distraction to Hitch. Alma is helping their friend rework his screenplay at a beach house. She spends long hours with Whit [Danny Huston]. This drives Hitch crazy when he makes this discovery. He has no idea what is going on. He suspects Alma is having an affair with Whit and feels betrayed. Eventually, it causes him so much stress and combined with overwork, Hitch collapses on the set. Alma needs to step in. The studio head at Paramount is circling like a vulture. Alma is stronger than anyone expects.


Her meetings with Whit come to an abrupt end. Reasons of which I will not go into, but Alma comes back home. Hitch finishes the filming of Psycho. It isn’t good. Hitch seems to have lost his touch. What happens next, it is important to watch Hitchcock to discover. I don’t like giving it away. Just like you wouldn’t want to know the ending of Psycho before you see the film. Just be assured the film Hitchcock makes has the scariest scene of any film ever made.

hitchcock-movie psycho-anthony-hopkins-helen-mirren cutting room

Hitchcock is a brilliant film. It may have taken away some of the bite out of what I felt toward Hitchcock after seeing The Girl, but it helped me to understand his predilection toward blonds. Having an obsession and a touch of perversion inside him, which I feel is true of Hitchcock. I see it as a psychological disturbance in his own psyche which he could not control. It does not excuse his behavior but it explains it.

janet hitch mirren restaurant toasting

Throughout the film Hitchcock he has the ghost of the serial killer Ed Gein guiding him through as he films the scenes in Psycho. Imagine having a serial killer influencing your creative thinking. An intriguing approach, but how much of this is made up or true, one may just have to speculate. It is a film worth seeing if you are a fan of Hitchcock and films. Also, if you enjoy a good behind the scenes, into the lives of real people who are creative and have given the world the gifts Sir Alfred Hitchcock and Alma Reville have treated us to.

Hitchcock-2012 backdrop red hitch holding knife

Don’t forget the film Psycho, which was born of this collaboration. About a boy named Norman Bates, who loves his mother so much he kills her, stuffs her and talks to his dead mother throughout the film, doing both voices. [Norman Bates played brilliantly in Psycho by Anthony Perkins and James D’Arcy, bearing an uncanny resemblance to Perkins plays Norman in Hitchcock] It, also, has the scariest killing scene ever. The killing of Marion Crane [Janet Leigh in Psycho and Scarlett Johansson in Hitchcock] in the shower scene, which kept everyone out of the shower following the viewing of this film. Janet Leigh, after viewing the scene, never took a shower again unless it was absolutely necessary. And let’s not forget the Bate’s Motel, the Infamous Mansion on the hill and those taxidermy animals and birds inside the Bate’s Motel office staring while Marion and Norman shared some sandwiches before she said goodnight.

hitchcock-2012-film shower scene

I discovered from research that Hitchcock was denied permission to use any footage from Psycho or use the Infamous Bates Mansion. It still stands erect at Universal’s back lot. What seems disturbing is that the awful color remake was granted permission to do an exact replica of Psycho. Trust me, see the black and white Hitchcock version. The other is a waste of time and footage. It does not work.

psycho b&w bate's house

I would like to believe we do get a real glimpse into Alfred Hitchcock, but I feel a great deal is hidden behind the façade of the silhouette of Hitch as he appears before each episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. I have seen his extensive interview with Dick Cavett many times and found the interaction thoroughly enjoyable. Hitch was a hard one to capture in a truth or reveal. He slipped around the questions to give up only that which he chose to release.

Hitch’s relationship with his wife Alma was a pure case of voyeurism filled with joy to see they collaborated so well together. Alma had as equal a talent as Hitch did. It gave me an uplifting feeling Alma was finally given credit for her contribution to the success of Team Hitchcock. At last, it was being admitted to and revealed so openly.

anthony-hopkins-in-hitchcock-movie-helen mirren back of mansion dining during day

Dame Helen Mirren as Alma Reville shows warmth and strength. The role is filled with intelligence and a depth of creativity that lifts women higher. Alma shows bursts of energy and vitality on the screen. Helen Mirren gives a brilliant performance.

hitchcock sir tony & hitch side by side

Sir Anthony Hopkins appears as Alfred Hitchcock. Physically transformed. I see only Hitchcock coming from this superb actor playing a great role. Hopkins has me believing he is Hitchcock.

Hitchcock-International Trailer

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Rating: 9.5/10 (4 votes cast)
Hitchcock, 9.5 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
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About the Author:

“Never Tell Me I Can’t Do Something.” Words which make me feel challenged and pushed forward until what meets me is accomplished. It is within me to create from thoughts, images and sound. There are five questions: What? When? Where? How? And Why? My compulsion is to figure out answers to them all. I am a writer, poet, artist, blogger who uses her tools to search the unknown, to discover all the possibilities and impossibilities, and to live as full a life as imaginable. Jk the secret keeper

3 Comments on "Hitchcock"

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  1. avatar Cher Duncombe says:

    Jennifer, you hand us a film, the director and stars, and no matter how we thought we knew this film, you make it a thousand times more interesting! Hitchcock is quite a study and all the background you have given us serves to make him and his films even more intriguing. I read every word you write slowly, as though savoring a beautifully served meal in a restaurant filled with JK ambiance. Thanks for another great write-up!

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  2. Cher, It was a monumental feat to capture Alfred Hitchcock & I got below the surface layer by layer but he has a barrier around him, yet his vulnerability escapes into his films. Artists are always accused of writing from experience but this statement is so often denied. Why? Is it an artist’s way of maintaining their privacy or are they not aware of the subconscious bleeding out into their creations. Experience does not mean something actually happened in reality. It can just be part of their fantasy world or unconscious seeping up into their awareness. I feel Hitchcock used whatever he could grab a hold of to feed his imagination. He wasn’t afraid to show the underside of human nature. Often taking his audience to the disturbing edges of reality we would rather not see.

    It is where the voyeur comes out in the audience. As Hitchcock professes, “I am behind the camera in a corner watching.” Well, the audience is in a dark theatre or in their homes, watching. It is okay. We have all been given permission. Even the censors of the film industry at the time Psycho was made, let certain things through, but, also, tried to protect the audience. The censors felt it was wrong to show a toilet in a film. It just wasn’t done. A silly notion today. Two people in a bedroom about to engage in sex, weren’t allowed to be on the same bed without each person having at least one foot on the floor.

    Hitchcock tricked his way around the censors & broke through every barrier in Psycho. Hitch constantly tested the limits.

    It was necessary to please the censors or your film wouldn’t be approved. That meant death to it. No one would ever see it. He opened up so many doors that were tightly locked. Today, those censors who governed over Hitchcock would have heart attacks with what is acceptable today.

    I loved Hitchcock’s way of titillating the audience by making them think they were seeing what he wanted them to see but wasn’t really there to see at all but they thought they saw it anyway.

    Knowing about the inside of a film & the real life of the artist makes it more thrilling & intriguing. It is like being let in on a secret no one else knows. Now, how exciting is that.

    I love the way you described my film review, “…savoring a beautifully served meal in a restaurant filled with [TY Jk] ambiance.” This is what Hitchcock does with his art of making films. They are excellently served up for our pleasure. He seeks out our senses, all of them, and stretches our emotions and mind with chaotic confusion. The tension pulls at us. What we see is more in our imagination than what is before us. He makes us part of his art, his films draw us inside of them.

    After you see Psycho, if you haven’t, it is impossible to not feel the sense of fear & creepiness. Many audiences seek this kind of ambiance. It makes them feel alive in a way they would otherwise never feel in their own lives. Excellent films, Hitchcock films are gifts to let go. It is why I am such a fan. And knowing more about Hitchcock & his brilliant wife Alma, adds layers of depth to the dimensions of his films. It is the pure fact that we have been let in on part of the secret. Knowing the secret doesn’t spoil it for us but makes it a deeper part of us.

    Thank you Cher for your amazing comment. It really helps to see myself & what I am doing more clearly. It is a thrill to be going even deeper into analyzing & trying to convey what I find by writing a film review that will tell people a story & to draw people to what I find to be a brilliant film & something that will give people pleasure & excitement. Also, to help steer people away from those films which would or might be a waste of their energy & time.

    I much prefer to recommend a film, an actor, a director & a screenplay, but I am more than willing to discourage people to avoid a film that is not worthy of their time, money & energy. But ultimately, it is each audience member’s responsibility to decide what appeals to their viewing pleasure.

    TY Cher for bringing me to such a place of wonder. :D Jk

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  3. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this article
    and the rest of the site is also very good.

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