Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection: which movies live up to the title?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by mdekoning, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. mdekoning

    mdekoning Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I was watching The Trouble With Harry from The Masterpiece Collection blu ray set earlier this week and it got me thinking. Yes, a lot of the movies in the set are very good, but do they really all deserve the title Masterpiece? What do you think?

    Saboteur: Almost, but not quite. One of his better early movies, but it looks very dated today.
    Shadow Of A Doubt: Yes. Hitchcock's own favourite, Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten are both brilliant in this one
    Rope: Absolutely. The single take approach makes this one of the most intense films of his career.
    Rear Window: Absolutely. My favourite Hitchcock film if I would have to choose one.
    The Trouble With Harry: No. Very funny and with the gorgeous autumn colours it looks beautiful, but masterpiece would be an overstatement
    The Man Who Knew Too Much: Almost, but no. If you've seen it before the movie loses a lot of its suspense and the "Que Sera Sera" section goes on too long.
    Vertigo: Absolutely. Jimmy Stewart is at his very best and the tower sequences are classic Hitchcock.
    North By Northwest (not included in some copies): Absolutely. Best film about mistaken identity ever.
    Psycho: Absolutely. Not a big fan of horror, but this is classic.
    The Birds: Yes, but only just. I find this more terrifying than Psycho, but the story is a bit simple by Hitchcock's standards.
    Marnie: No. Decent psychological thriller, but it falls short compared to what came before.
    Torn Curtain: Almost, but no. Great story, but Hitchcock would have got more out of it with better performances from the lead actors.
    Topaz: Absolutely not. A few classic scenes, but as a whole this is one of Hitchcock's weakest films.
    Frenzy: No, a fine murder story but not any better than an average Inspector Morse episode
    Family Plot: Absolutely not. Poor Hitchcock is still worth watching, but certainly not worth the Masterpiece title
  2. Dr. Funk

    Dr. Funk Forum Resident

    Fort worth tx
    Hmmm.... I would label the following that were mentioned masterpieces:
    Rear Window
    North By Northwest
  3. Monosterio

    Monosterio Forum Resident

    South Florida
    Rear Window
    North by Northwest

    And I would add:

    The 39 Steps
    Strangers on a Train
    jimmydean, jbmcb, Joe W and 6 others like this.
  4. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Strangers On A Train

    Fave? Rear Window
  5. smilin ed

    smilin ed Forum Resident

    Shadow Of A Doubt
    Rear Window
    North By Northwest
    The Birds

    Add Strangers on a Train, The Thirty-Nine Steps, Notorious, Suspicion, Blackmail and Young and Innocent and you have my favourite Hitchcock movies.
    doubleaapn likes this.
  6. adm62

    adm62 Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    Psycho is actually pretty average late Hitchcock apart from first 40 minutes and several outstanding scenes. Masterpieces for me are Shadow of a Doubt, Notorious, Strangers in a Train (maybe), Rear Window, Vertigo and North by Northwest. All in the top 50 movies ever made.
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  7. jkauff

    jkauff Putin-funded Forum Troll

    Akron, OH
    In any case, there are more masterpieces in this box than in 20 years of Masterpiece Theater. :laugh:
    Fox67, Scotian, kw21925 and 3 others like this.
  8. Bhob

    Bhob Forum Resident

    Atlanta Ga
    Are all these movies from one studio. Where’s Rebecca, Notorious, Suspicion, The 39 Steps, Lifeboat...

    I could go on.
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  9. longdist01

    longdist01 Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL USA
    Lifeboat and The Lodger [Criterion] are two i enjoy rewatching too!
    jbmcb and mooseman like this.
  10. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    New Orleans, LA
    The 1934 The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Lady Vanishes, Foreign Correspondent...
    Jazzmonkie and Bhob like this.

    MAYBEIMAMAZED Don't think Twice it's alright

    rear window
    Northwest by Northwest
    the Birds
    strangers on a train
    D-rock, longdist01 and Spadeygrove like this.
  12. TeacFan

    TeacFan Forum Resident In Memoriam

    Arcadia, Ca.
    Blackmail 1929 UK
    Released as a silent & sound version in two different lengths. Saw a 35mm screening of both a few ago on the same bill.
    The silent actually works better and has an amusing Hitchcock cameo bit on a subway.
  13. Jim B.

    Jim B. Forum Resident

    From your list:

    Rear Window
    North By Northwest
  14. mdekoning

    mdekoning Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I would add the following titles:

    The Lady Vanishes
    Strangers On A Train
    Dial M For Murder
  15. albert_m

    albert_m Forum Resident

    Atl., Ga, USA
    Yes, it's his Universal films only.
    audiomixer likes this.
  16. albert_m

    albert_m Forum Resident

    Atl., Ga, USA
    I enjoy both of these a lot, mostly because of the nature of their stories etc (cold war), but classic they are not.
    That said, each film has some moments that are classic Hitch. The dress "as blood" in Topaz for example.
    xilef regnu likes this.
  17. Chip Z

    Chip Z Forum Resident

    Cleveland, OH, USA
    If you're a fan of Psycho, you might want to check out the Inside Psycho podcast. It's a little goofy/overdramatic at times but some interesting tidbits about the development and success of the movie.
  18. socorro

    socorro Forum Resident

    Has any director ever had 10-year run like Hitchcock from 1951 (Strangers on a Train) to 1960 (Psycho)? In between, he made Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958) and North By Northwest (1959). Five inner-circle, all time great films in one decade. Amazing. Several of the lesser films during this decade were pretty respectable: Dial M for Murder, To Catch a Thief, The Man Who Knew Too Much. I've never seen I Confess, The Trouble with Harry, or The Wrong Man.

    Before 1950, I would give highest marks to The 39 Steps, Rebecca and Lifeboat.

    Flawed but enjoyable pre-1950 films in chronological order: The Lady Vanishes, Jamaica Inn, Suspicion, Shadow of a Doubt, Notorious, Rope.

    There are a couple dozen I've never seen.
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  19. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Marysville, WA
    Shadow Of A Doubt
    Rear Window
    North By Northwest

    Almost: Frenzy, parts of which scared the **** out of me the first time I saw it. I'd love to see it in a theatre someday, as opposed to at home on TV. (I've seen most of Hitch's films in the theatre, and that was my initial exposure to many of them.)
  20. You pretty much nailed it.
  21. El Bacho

    El Bacho Forum Resident

    Paris, France
    More exactly, it's his Universal films plus a few Paramount and Warner titles whose rights were returned to him contractually after a certain amount of years. The estate decided to grant Universal distribution rights for these in 1983, so most of the catalog could be handled at one place. A Paramount film (To Catch a Thief) has remained at Paramount all the time, and the deal with Warner meant that they just lost Rope.

    For a few years, in the late seventies, early eighties, five films became quite rare, as no stable distribution rights had been granted. They were in the Hitchcock vault. Rear Window was MIA for 15 years, for instance.
    It actually explains a lot of Brian De Palma's films at the time. Many people assume that he was copying Vertigo and Rear Window in particular. More exactly, he was trying to recreate them, as he couldn't watch them.
  22. Dr. Pepper

    Dr. Pepper What, me worry?

    You must be a big Jimmy Stewart fan, like I am, but it's probably pushing it a little to call Rope a masterpiece. I love Rope and it is a grand experiment and all, but a Masterpiece?
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  23. Jackson

    Jackson Forum Resident

    MA, USA
    1 - Psycho-Vertigo
    2 - Shadow Of A Doubt
    3 - Rear Window
    4 - North By Northwest
    5 - The Birds
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  24. TeacFan

    TeacFan Forum Resident In Memoriam

    Arcadia, Ca.
    On a side note, Rebecca in now owned by The Walt Disney Co through the purchasing of ABC which oddly, gained the rights years ago.
    Disney has since restored the film.
  25. Dr. Funk

    Dr. Funk Forum Resident

    Fort worth tx
    It's not "pushing it" in my opinion. The limited setting and the long takes, some were up to 10 minutes, which was unheard of during that time. It is one of Hitch's most innovative films, and definitely a masterpiece in my book.
    D-rock likes this.

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