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CLASH OF THE TITANS no. 1

 
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Which one do you prefer?
Psycho
66%
 66%  [ 2 ]
Vertigo
33%
 33%  [ 1 ]
North by Northwest
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Rear Window
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 3

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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 09.12.2003 4:42 pm    Post subject: CLASH OF THE TITANS no. 1 Reply with quote

Psycho vs Rear Window vs North by Northwest vs Vertigo

These four films have been heralded as some of Hitchcock's finest but which one is your personal favorite and why?

Psycho (1960)



Possibly the most influential film of all time, Psycho is, in my opinion, Hitch's best. His technical brilliance is not just visible during the infamous shower scene but throughout the entire movie, and Anthony Perkins delivers one of the most memorable performances in cinema history as the schizophrenic serial killer Norman Bates. Bernard Herrman's score is intense and memorable, and the film's atmosphere is wonderfully crafted, mainly due to the near-perfect cinematography. Unsettling, horrifying, dark, sublime Psycho is a thriller for the ages that is endlessly watchable and still manages to scare forty three years on. It is the film Hitchcock is most identified and arguably the finest he's ever filmed. A classic.

Rear Window (1954)



It could be argued that Rear Window struggles to overcome the limitations of yet another one-set film (like Lifeboat and Rope. It could be argued that very little actually happens, being made up of the suspicions and interferences of a very bored man. It could even be argued that Rear Window is Hitchcock's least dynamic picture of all. Of course, to do so would be sheer madness, overlooking the fact that the film is a triumph because of those very limitations. It is far too easy to eulogise about how brilliant Rear Window actually is. The film's undoubted success and near legendary reputation are simply due to the fact that all of the ingredients in the mix work so well together. Boasting an ensemble cats that are perfect for their roles, a script that sparkles with dozens of memorable lines, a stunningly innovative and realistic set and a director at the very peak of his powers, Rear Window just could not fail. Perfection.

North by Northwest (1959)



Vertigo (1958)



Many thousands of words have been written over the years in praise of Vertigo, considered by most critics to be Hitchcock's finest hour. There's no denying that this film is an astonishing and phenomenal masterpiece. More than any other Hitch film, Vertigo rewards repeated watching. There is so much depth and confidence to this twisted story that Hitchcock unfolds that it simply cannot be appreciated on first viewing. James Stewart is brilliant as ever, and Bernard Herrman's hypnotic score is as beautiful as it is haunting, arguably his greatest work. As a result of this, or rather, because of this, the film is the more bewitching, also helped by the wonderful cinematography, sparkling with red color and containing exceptional shots of San Francisco. The twists and turns are what make the intricate story of love and obsession so intriguing, but it is the real ending which will have you gasping in surprise. Masterful.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 09.12.2003 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Out of those four Psycho is my favorite; in fact, it's my favorite Hitchcock movie. North by Northwest and Vertigo are high on my list, but I have to admit Rear Window is not so high, although I still like it.
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 09.12.2003 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a coincidence, Psycho is my favorite of his, too. If I were to rank them I'd do it like this:

1. Psycho

2. Vertigo

3. North by Northwest

4. Rear Window

I absolutely love of all them (Hitchcock is obviously one of my favorite directors) but it's actually quite hard to decide between Psycho and Vertigo; sometimes I profoundly wonder which one is the superior film. On one side we have Psycho: a dark, intensely unsettling film filled with memorable scenes and spellbinding acting which still is able to tingle your spine after more than forty years. The genius of Hitchcock is palpable in every frame (and his passionate love for cinema, for that matter). On the other side, we have Vertigo: a character study, a film about psychology which explores Hitch's usual and favorite themes; murder, sexuality, innocence and obsession. It's a film that instantly bewitches you with its sheer cinematic power, a film of many layers which deserves to be analysed over and over again. Besides, it's endlessly watchable.

Yet, I cannot decide which is the better film, although I usually lean towards Psycho. I think it's the compelling story about internal pain that interests me so much.
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matt header
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PostPosted: 09.12.2003 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh, I think I'm in the minority here. Rear Window is certainly my favorite Hitchcock movie (although all four of these have a fond place in my heart -I love Hitch). The way that, as you said, most is suggested and "little happens" in Rear Window ups the suspense, I think, and forces the audience's imagination to consider terrible things (true of those other movies, too). The way that the suspense is built so casually, even comedically, is astonishing to me, as is the parallel to watching movies itself. All four are masterpieces - I would definitely argue that - but Rear Window's my favorite.
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 09.12.2003 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I agree with what you said. Of course, the four films are masterpieces, but for some reason Rear Window seems to be my least favorite. Perhaps it's because I've only seen it once. Is it one of those films that gets better after every viewing?
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 09.12.2003 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've only seen Rear Window once myself. Most of Hitch's movies get progressively better with each viewing, as was mentioned. North by Northwest and Vertigo (a movie I didn't really like the first time) are about neck-and-neck for me too. I put the former just slighty above the latter because it's so immediate and so much damn fun. But I love Vertigo's dark psychology, and just recently watched the remastered version and was blown away by the brightness of the colors.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 09.12.2003 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've seen Rear Window about 10 times, including once in the theater. It keeps growing, in my estimation, and now ranks among my favorite Hitches. For me, what's interesting is how it works as an allegory for cinema--especially with that weird mix of arousal and guilt. And the early scene where Grace Kelly silently kissing Stewart is one of the most passionate and exhilarating things I've ever seen on the big screen.

My favorite on this list is Psycho, which is probably my top Hitch. (I haven't seen every last one, but I'm at 48, from The Lodger to Family Plot.) I included Psycho on my list of the Century's Greatest Films, which was written some time ago and may not be accurate anymore, but nevertheless... Here's what I wrote then: "The title may be corny, but Psycho (1960) stands as a theorem proof which explains the power of moving images. Hitchcock's precision as a visual storyteller forces viewers to identify with his themes of paranoia, delusion, and insanity. Has there been another film that so clearly delineates how movies can annex our innermost fears and vulnerabilities?"

I guess I like both Psycho and Rear Window for similar reasons. But aren't most of Hitchcock's works really about the movies themselves?

Eric
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 09.13.2003 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
And the early scene where Grace Kelly silently kissing Stewart is one of the most passionate and exhilarating things I've ever seen on the big screen.



Oh yes. The most perfect kiss in history of cinema.
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 09.13.2003 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And I'd appreciate it if you read this essay I wrote about Psycho's notorious shower scene:

Making a Killing ? Psycho?s Shower Scene

One of cinema?s most infamous sequences began shooting on 18 December 1959 and continued until 23 December. The shooting was delayed twice, once when Janet Leigh was suffering from a head cold and once because it coincided with her period.

For a shot right at the water stream, the crew had to block off the inner holes on the shower head so that the water sprayed past the camera lens.

Rumour has it that Hitchcock arranged for the water to suddenly go ice-cold when the attack started. However, this is probably apocryphal, as it has been disputed by most of the parties present at the time.

Having tested the sound generated by stabbing a number of several fruits, Hitch selected the sound of a stabbed casaba (a Turkish melon) for the sound effects to be used in the movie. The ?blood? seen in the shower was in fact chocolate sauce.

Hitchcock used shots of Leigh?s head, face, hands and midriff, but all the other shots were Maril Renfro, a nude model Hitch had hired to spare Leigh the discomfort of performing naked. Leigh was fitted for contact lenses for the final corpse shot, but in the finished film the close-up of Marion?s dead body is a freeze-frame. Alma Reville apparently saw the original version and told her husband that she could see Leigh blink, so he changed it. Note how, in the finished scene, a droplet of water hangs from Janet Leigh?s hair until the circling of the camera steadies out and begins to pull back, which is were the frame is unfrozen.

In 1973, Saul Bass claimed that he not only storyboarded the shower scene, but was permitted to direct it. He?d already mocked up a short reel to prove that the scene could be done in montage, and he said that as it was such a time-consuming scene that Hitch stepped aside and let him call the shots. Hitch himself claimed that, although he?d hired Bass to storyboard Arbogast?s murder, he ended up not using his montage. He never publicly acknowledged Bass?s involvement in the earlier murder. Janet Leigh and others reject Bass?s claims. ?Saul Bass was there for the shooting,? Leigh clarifies, ?but he never directed me.?

?The shower scene was a baptism,? wrote Janet Leigh, ?a taking away of the torment from her mind. Marion becomes a virgin again. [Hitchcock] wanted the audience to feel her peacefulness, her kind of rebirth, so that the moment of the intrusion is even more shocking and tragic.?

After the film?s release Hitchcock received an angry letter from the father of a girl who refused to have a bath after seeing Les Diaboliques (1954) and now refused to shower after seeing Psycho. Hitchcock sent a note back simply saying: ?Send her to the dry cleaners.?
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 09.13.2003 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd heard all that before except for the "dry cleaners" bit. Very funny and very Hitch.
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