My Top Five Alfred Hitchcock Films.

Sadly, a lot of people today won’t know much about the classic movies from Hollywoods Golden Age. To many, CGI and blockbuster budgets are a lot more appealing than dialogue and black and white films. However, what I would guess quite a few people recognize is the name Alfred Hitchcock.

A man like no other, he revolutionized movies and has inspired many Directors and Stars of our day. As a person? Well,  from what I’ve read he was definitely one of a kind and not everyone’s cup of tea, but as  Director? He’s without doubt one of the best.

During his fifty year career, he was forever breaking boundaries and daring to do what others could never imagine. I think one film that everyone will know about, well one scene especially is Psycho (1960), the chilling music by Bernard Herrmann is forever etched in viewers minds.

Hitchcock was always using recurring themes in his films, from his signature cameo appearances, (To Catch A Thief has to be a favourite) to his love of icy blondes who often meet a gruesome end, he was a Director like no other! Although he made nearly seventy movies, I’m going to pick my top five that I’d recommend you watch. I’ve seen the majority of this films from his best years; the 1940s through 1960s so I think I have a fairly good judgement.

James Stewart and Grace Kelly in Rear Window (1954)
James Stewart and Grace Kelly in Rear Window (1954)

Rear Window (1954)

Ironically enough, the first time I watched this film, I didn’t understand the hype around it. It revolves around a recovering Photographer, L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies, (played by James Stewart) who watches his neighbours out of boredom and convinces himself that one has committed a murder. With Hitchcock’s most famous blonde, (Grace Kelly) being James Stewart’s leading lady and looking ever so beautiful in Edith Head’s costumes, I assure you, you’ll be gripped! They don’t call him the Master of Suspense for nothing. A huge hit during it’s original release and #37 on IMDB’S Top 250 Movies, this is a must see! 

Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in North By Northwest (1959)

North By Northwest (1959)

Not only is Cary Grant at his sauve best at fifty four (!) but the chemistry between himself and the wonderful Eva Marie Saint is absolutely thrilling. Cary plays Roger Thornhill, a man framed for a murder and on the run. In the late fifties, Hitchcock was well into his obsession with his leading ladies and actually picked out Eva Marie Saint’s clothes himself and made her cut her hair (sobs) specifically for the role. The two things that make this film stand out have to be Cary’s iconic grey suit and him running from a Plane. I must say that he shows great comedic talent in this film despite its dark theme, yet sadly so many beautiful stars were only appreciated for their looks, Cary Grant is one of them.

James Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo (1958)
James Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo (1958)

Vertigo (1958)

Although not a big success when first released, Vertigo is now considered once of Hitchocks finest films, if not his best. James Stewart was unfairly blamed for the lukewarm reaction of Vertigo, being twenty five years older than his leading lady Kim Novak and he and Hitchcock never worked together again. Jimmy plays Scottie Ferguson, a now retired Police Offier suffering from Vertigo who is hired by an old acquaintance to investigate his wife. This film is full of twists and turns and has a shock ending, classic Hitchcock. Once again he was so specific with the aesthetic look of his movies that he personally styled Kim Novaks iconic updo himself!

Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery in Marnie (1964)
Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery in Marnie (1964)

Marnie (1964)

Considered by many to be his final masterpiece, Marnie stars Alfred’s last, “Hitchcock Blonde”, Tippi Hedren. Although their relationship started off full of optimism, with this film it came to a sad abrupt end, due to Hitchocks obsessive behaviour with his leading lady. Tippi was groomed to be the new, “Grace Kelly” after she had married Prince Rainier of Monaco and retired from films. Therefore, Tippi was signed to an exclusive contract with Hitchcock and made The Birds (1963) and Marnie (1964) before escaping his controlling nature. Besides Psycho, I would say this would be Hitchcocks most controversial film, he reportedly wouldn’t make the movie if the censors cut the disturbing rape scene, which fifty years later is still incredibly uncomfortable to watch.

Alfred Hitchcock directs Janet Leigh in Psycho (1960)
Alfred Hitchcock directs Janet Leigh in Psycho (1960)

Psycho (1960)

By 1959, Alfred Hitchcock was arguably the biggest Director in the world and there he was making a highly controversial movie that no Studio would touch, on a budget less than one million dollars. Not only did he decide to do this, he hired leading lady Janet Leigh and killed her off less than fifty minutes into the movie. Although Psycho cemented Anthony Perkins into cinema history, he was forever type cast after playing the infamous Norman Bates. Even watching Psycho fifty years on, it’s incredibly hard to believe that this movie past through the censors in 1960. Everyone thought Hitchcock was killing his career, however, he had the last laugh, not only did the film make over $32,000,000 – the majority of the profits went to him as no one believed the film would be successful.

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A New Day, A New Month.

Hey guys!

On a positive, it’s now May! Which means the change of calendars, I have eight on Marilyn and one on my favourite film, Gone With The Wind. Yes, I know it’s a lot, but they sure brighten up my door and the rest of my room.

Sorry for being quiet the past couple of days, I’ve not had any fashion or makeup posts to show you as after using  a spot moisturizer, I suffered an allergic reaction on my face! It’s gone all swollen, hot, dry and red so I’ve been a bit of a mess. I was meant to be going out with my parents and their friends yesterday, I pincurled my hair for the occasion but I wasn’t up to it sadly. So the past two days I’ve had lovely curls and a not so lovely face.

I’ve also been suffering a bit more severely lately with my intrusive thoughts, OCD is such a debilitating mental illness and I truly wouldn’t wish it on anyone. After watching some youtube videos with other sufferers talking, I’ve tried to be braver and let the thoughts go, but anyone who suffers will know that it’s a lot easier said then done. Over the past years I’ve tried to be as open and honest as I can about my experiences with my mental illnesses, if you want to know more you can see here. I’m very lucky to have my mum and boyfriend especially, be so understanding and make me feel less crazy, I know I’m not – but that’s how isolating this illness can be. To learn more about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder see here.

A short definition on OCD.

On a more positive note, I’ve recently got into the Netflix buzz and been watching shows like Breaking Bad and House Of Cards. However, until today I’d yet to have watched any films on there. As a huge lover of Old Hollywood films I was very excited to see the Classic’s Genre  and I wrote down a list of ones I’d yet to see. A couple of months ago I read Sophia Loren’s Autobiography and completely fell in love with her. She is such an incredibly beautiful woman, inside and out and since then I’ve bought three of her films on DVD.  Therefore, I was so excited when I saw Houseboat (1958) to watch! It was Sophia’s third American film, after Boy On A Dolphin (1957) and The Pride and The Passion (1957) and she stars opposite the ever so lovely Cary Grant.

Every year on tumblr I do a Film Challenge, rating all the movies I view that year and I’ve really been behind on watching any lately so I was very happy to get back into it. Seeing any Old Hollywood film with my favourites is always a joy, but this one was extra enjoyable – possibly because of the real life romance between Cary and Sophia and I’d recommend it to anyone who loves the Golden Age of Hollywood and the 1950s. I won’t say too much as I don’t want to give anything away! I will say though, that Sophia sure has a lovely voice, is there anything this woman can’t do? I think not!

Houseboat (1958)

I decided to write down the other Classic Films which caught my eye on Netflix that I hadn’t seen, so here are some recommendations;

  • His Girl Friday (1940)
  • Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)
  • The Enforcer (1951)
  • Teacher’s Pet (1958)
  • The Grass Is Greener (1960)
  • That Touch Of Mink (1962)
  • A Hard Day’s Night (1964)Here’s the films I’ve seen that are on there;
  • To Catch A Thief (1955)
  • The Children’s Hour (1961)
  • Irma La Douce (1963)

I’m also currently reading a book on Grace Kelly by James Spada, it’s the first full biography I’ve read on her and I’m really enjoying it. I’m reading an updated version from 2014, but it was originally released in 1987, a few years after her death. I’ve got a Marilyn photographic biography by him and it’s pretty good so I trust him as an author which is important. I’ve always thought Grace was a beautiful and talented lady and I’ve seen the majority of her films, (sadly, she only made eleven) so it’s wonderful to learn more about the real Grace behind her Hitchcock Blonde Persona.

One of my favourite photos of Grace for Cosmopolitan Magazine in 1955.

As soon as my face returns to normal, I hope to be back to sharing my fashion, make up and hairstyles with you all. But at least for now you can be inspired by the beautiful Sophia and Grace, I know I am!

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