MOVIE MADNESS #143: HITCHCOCK

I have always wanted to see a bio-pic on Hollywood’s greatest director. The mad genius that he was. A couple months back I watched the fascinating film THE GIRL from HBO which starred Toby Jones as Hitchcock and Sienna Miller as Tippi Hedren. That film showed the flawed side of Hitchcock’s genius and his obsessive perfectionism. The movie proved to me that Hollywood needed to delve deeper into Hitchcock’s life. I hoped this would come from the Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock.

This version of Alfred Hitchcock‘s life looks at the making of “Psycho” and how the whole film came together. Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins), now 60-years-old is finding his career starting to slide. He had just finished the enormous success of “North by Northwest” and finds all Hollywood wants is another spy thriller. Hitchcock on the other hand is fascinated with the grisly life of serial killer Ed Gein (Michael Wincott). And wants to capitalize those front page stories and the great reviews of the novel “Psycho”.

His wife Alma (Helen Mirren) becomes sidetracked by talented writer Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston) who wants to steal her from Hitch to help him with his novel. Hitch needs Alma but she isn’t there this time.

Hitch becomes desperate so he mortgages his house to finance the making of “Psycho” much to the shock of the studio.

I think what I wanted from this film and what I got were two entirely different things. The movie is based on the novel “Alfred Hitchcock and the making of Psycho” and the tone of the film is often light-hearted. That can be distracting from the often complicated mind of Hitchcock. I often reminded myself that this isn’t a bio-pic but more a slice of life. I wanted a deep movie like “Ray” or “Walk the Line” but instead got something more along the lines of “Me & Orson Welles”.

It was great to visit to the set of “Psycho” and see the latest crop of actors plays legends like Janet Leigh, Vera Miles and Anthony Perkins. But often it was hard to get into the production of the film without seeing some of the shots in B&W. Especially the re-enactment of the shower scene. Was it Alma who suggested the blood circling the shower drain? Also why wasn’t the Alfred Hitchcock openings and endings shot in B&W like the series?

As a Hollywood nostalgia piece this is really interesting film. But I feel that “The Girl” portrayed what it was like to be on a Hitchcock set better. And I think the actual Hitchcock was probably part Anthony Hopkins and part Toby Jones. It will be interesting to see if we ever see “Ray” type bio-pic on Hitchcock.

3 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer

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