Monday, September 15, 2008

Hitchcock's 10 Best

TimesOnLine recently posted their choices for the Hitchcock's 50 Most Memorable Moments. Using just their selections, I provide for your perusal, my Top Ten Hitchcock Moments:

  1. North by Northwest (1959) The crop-dusting scene: This is perhaps Hitchcock’s most famous scene: Cary Grant on the run from killers, finds himself alone in the middle of nowhere. A crop duster appears on the horizon. As it flies closer, we know even before the machine gun fire, that Grant has been found!

  2. Psycho (1960) The shower scene: If the crop dusting scene isn’t Hitchcock’s most famous, then this has to be. We still believe that Janet Leigh, the star of the movie, is going to come out okay. Once she takes a shower things will start looking up. Unfortunately they don’t, and she should have. Through the shower curtain we can see the murderer quietly sneaking over. Suddenly the shower curtain is thrown back, Bernard Herrmann’s score blasts and anyone who has ever seen the scene knows that taking a shower will never be the same.

  3. The Birds (1963) Climbing frame: When Tippi Hedren sits on bench and lights up a cigarette we see a single crow on the monkey bars behind her. As she begins to smoke a few more land. She’s oblivious to them and what they represent. Finally she takes notice of a bird that flies into frame and to the monkey bars. She [and the audience] see for the first time that dozens, perhaps hundreds of birds now cover the playground equipment.

  4. The Birds (1963) The “God” shot: This film is filled with so many memorable moments, and who can forget this classic scene? Hitchcock literally gives us a bird’s eye view of the carnage below… birds attacking, as the gas station explodes and the town goes up in flames… and as the camera looks in all directions all we can see are more birds!

  5. Psycho (1960) The discovery of “Mother” in the basement: Theater owners wouldn’t let people come in during the last minutes of the movie so as not to ruin the shocking surprise as we discover for the first time, the secret of “mother.”

  6. North by Northwest (1959) The amazing denoument: Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint have been chased across the country and find themselves trapped on, of all places, the presidents’ heads on Mount Rushmore. She is barely hanging on as Grant stretches to pull her up and suddenly…a happy ending. Like in Vertigo where we don’t see how Jimmy Stewart manages to get back to safety, it just doesn’t matter.

  7. Saboteur (1942) The Statue of Liberty dangle: Bob Cummings finally confronts the foreign agent at the top of the Statue of Liberty. During the struggle, the agent goes over the side, barley saved by Cummings’ grip on his sleeve. As Cummings struggles to bring him up the sleeve begins to slowly rip… one stitch at a time. Then comes the fall that seems to last almost as long!

  8. Lifeboat (1944) Starring Alfred Hitchcock: Alfred Hitchcock was the first director that I knew by name. I used to love looking for his cameos in movies and this was perhaps his most clever. He appears in a newspaper diet ad.

  9. Psycho (1960) Marion Crane’s car journey to the Bates motel: Poor Janet Leigh has gotten in way over her head, but she’s the heroine of the story so despite the bad weather and the worries so clearly seen from her expressions, we know everything will turn out okay in the end.

  10. Rear Window (1954) Lisa is caught in Thorwarld’s apartment: Grace Kelly plays Lisa, Jimmy Stewart’s girlfriend. Stewart is convinced that the neighbor across the courtyard has killed his wife. Lisa goes in to the neighbor’s apartment to search for evidence as Stewart watches from his window, immobilized with two broken legs. He [and we] are shocked when the murderer suddenly returns to find Lisa in his apartment!

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