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Hitchcock.

https://i0.wp.com/img.photobucket.com/albums/v450/neonair/CINEMA/hitchcock.jpgA little background on Alfred Hitchcock. HA! He is one of history’s greatest directors, responsible for films such as Rear Window, Strangers On A Train, North By Northwest, my personal favorite Rope – and the subject of this movie, Psycho. Miraculously this genius never received an Oscar, or even a BAFTA from his own country. Of course that means putting too much stock into any of these rituals, when those in the real world know he should have in the very least been given the best directing Oscar in 1960 over Billy Wilder. No-brainer. But there you go. Now, thirty-two years since his passing and Hollywood is taking a soft, gentle stab at portraying a segment of his life, based on the book “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho”. Unfortunately it is not an award winner itself, but despite it’s faults it’s not as much of a mixed bag to me as so many critics have been asserting. Sure it’s a bit of a fluff piece at times, thanks to the strangely unbalanced casting choices of the great Anthony Hopkins (Hitchcock), Helen Mirren (his wife, Alma) and Scarlett Johansson (Janet Leigh) mixed in with the likes of Jessica Biel (Vera Miles), Toni Collette (Peggy Robertson), and Ralph Macchio (Psycho screenwriter Joseph Stefano). Luckily the latter did a good job simply by not dragging down the entire movie, but the film could have benefitted from some stronger casting choices. The fluff comes in with the plot, concentrating a lot more on alleged marital problems between the Hitchcocks than on the actual making of Psycho. By the end the plot line does redeem itself and make it known how important those problems and their eventual resolution were to the completion and success of it’s release in 1960, but I felt the problems could have simply been alluded to, even alluded to heavily, but not portrayed so heavily. Do I really care to really see exactly what was going on with Alma and her friend in a cottage on the California coastline? Do we really need to see the faint courtship? Do we really need to spend so much time with that part of the story? I didn’t see why the filmmakers needed to show every detail as to why the problems were supposedly so serious, and if they weren’t so serious, then move on. Maybe I assumed too much when the movie, called Hitchcock, would be telling just as much of her side of the Hitchcock family story as his. Again, it’s importance to the overall story is clear by the end, but – and maybe this is the nerd in me – I was looking forward to more of Hopkins’ portrayal of Hitchcock (which really is good – subtly good) and the nitty gritty of the making of Psycho than Mrs Hitchcock’s extramarital flirtations. This cine-dork wanted to see the balance sheets of the film, to see what money was spent where on his self-financed film, from the staff salaries to the cost of the film stock. I want to see the daily call sheets, not Alma’s sideshow flirtation. In the very least they do cover an equal amount of the making of the film as they do the the personal side, and it’s simply, at it’s best, fun. Criticism I have been reading on this film is that it’s not a big serious, heavy-handed period piece of sorts, and the casting of Hopkins I am certain brings a level of confusion that this movie turns out being the exact opposite. And I see how a near Merchant Ivory style production would be great for this (or ironically some sort of throwback to a Billy Wilder take on Hollywood), but I appreciated NOT seeing something heavy-handed for once. Mr Hitchcock was a man known to have a wicked sense of humor – and I think the style this film went for let’s that shine. As an informative shiny fluff piece, this movie excels. It’s light hearted, the average moviegoer will learn a little something, and it’s simply fun just going back in time and seeing the hysteria over the making and release of Psycho, knowing that compared to ‘horror’ films of today such as the Saw series, I Spit On Your Grave remakes, and The Human Centipede, Psycho is practically a children’s film. More than anything, this film reminded me of what a great filmmaker Mr Hitchcock is. His passion for film and creating is presented quietly and wonderfully by Mr Hopkins, and it’s none more apparent than during one of the final scenes at the Psycho premiere. It will surely bring a smile to your face, and helps you appreciate those in the world of cinema who strive for nothing more than to entertain people, an aspect that made Mr Hitchcock a true master. Mr Hopkins’ performance may not seem Oscar-worthy, but I see fault for that lying on the writers and director more than anything. The performance itself is great as I feel I left the theater understanding at least a little bit of what Mr Hitchcock was like as a person, and not only did I, but I also came away – somehow – with even more respect for him. Mr Hopkins deserves a nomination in my view, and far from this being a great film, it’s enjoyable in it’s own little fluffy world. Fair enough. I give this one seventy-four shower scene edits.

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