Amph The Films of Alfred Hitchcock: Disc: ]Alfred Hitchcock's Secret of Happiness

Discussion in 'Community' started by solojones, May 15, 2006.

  1. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    In this discussion, we will chronologically explore the films of the Master of Suspense. I am indebted to the book "Hitchcock Poster Art", edited by Tony Nourmand and Mark H. Wolff, for the descriptions of some of these films. And of course there's IMDB ;)

    Now, right on to the first film. Or rather, the first film Hitch actually completed. It is worth nothing that in 1922 Hitch was directing a film called Thirteen, which unfortunately was never completed. Also, no footage survives from it. So we will have to move onto the first completed film.

    The Pleasure Garden (1925)
    [image=http://artfiles.art.com/images/-/The-Pleasure-Garden-Poster-C10204523.jpeg]
    Description from Hitchcock Poster Art:
    "The 26-year-old Hitchcock made his directing debut with this romantic melodrama- an under-financed Anglo-German co-production made at the Emelka Studios in Munich and shot partly on location in Italy- which shows the influence of Griffith and Murnau. The plot, a backstage story of two chorus girls at the Pleasure Garden Theatre, contrasts the decent Virginia Valli, then a big star at Universal, with the coquettish Carmelita Geraghty. The idealistic Valli grows increasingly disillusioned after her marriage to a drunken rake (Miles Mander) who takes up with, and ultimately drowns, a native girl in a British colony in the Far East. Hitchcock would refashion the elements of this story- madness, murder and despair- to greater advantage in subsequent films."


    Personally, I haven't seen this film. But I find it interesting that even if he was going to be doing a romantic melodrama, Hitch was going to make sure it was one with an appropriate amount of murder :p From what I've seen, I don't think this film is available either on VHS or DVD, though it might have been on TCM or something. I would be surprised if anyone's seen it, but happily so.


  2. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    Haven't seen it, but there is a detailed description from Truffaut's Hitchcock book. First completed Hitchcock film contains a ghost scene, which is interesting.

    Wonderful poster.
  3. TheBoogieMan Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2001
    star 6
    Haven't seen it, I'm afraid. But I agree with Zaz, that's a great poster.
  4. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Yeah, I think that's the general consensus here :p

    Hitch's next film was The Mountain Eagle, but no known copies now exist of this film. So, moving on to...

    The Lodger (US Title: "The Case of Jonathan Drew") (1927)
    [image=http://www.movieconnection.it/schede/videopolis/the_lodger-loc4.jpg]
    From the book:
    "Nearly shelved by its distributor for being too dark and expresionistic, Hitchcock's technically innovative first suspense film starred England's leading matinee idol, Ivor Novello, as a man suspected of being a Jack the Ripper-like killer known as The Avenger. The mysterious muffled stranger prowls around at night carrying a black bag and murdering weekly as panic envelops the city. The theme of an inncent protagonist accused of a crime he has not committed was one of Hitchcock's favourites and would be recycled in a number of his movies... Hitchcock appeared twice aas an extra here; his cameos beginning with 'Blackmail' later became his trademark. The visual experimentation, including a see-through celiging, is noteworthy. A smash hit, the first true Hitchcock film was praised by the press as 'possibly the finest British production ever made'."


    This silent film is one I'd desperately like to see but haven't yet. I don't think it's ever been released as its own DVD but I just found it on Netflix as part of a two-sided disc along with 'Sabatoge'. So I might rent it, but that wouldn't be until long after this discussion is over so I'm afraid I don't have much to say. Maybe if I do see it I'll come in later with comments when we're in the middle of 'The Birds' or something :p

    Oh and the poster is the French one, the one my book has (though much larger). I don't have a scanner here at home so I'm unable to get a bigger copy of it. And too lazy. But it's a good poster ;)


  5. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    Another good poster, but then Hitchcock had an eye for such things.

    I haven't seen this one either, and am hoping TCM will deliver on it, because I'd really like to see it. Hitchcock long wanted to remake the picture with sound, but never did.
  6. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    I was thinking it would make a great remake with sound, but that's a dangerous thing to mention because now some hack will try to do it I'm sure :p
  7. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    Well, if they can remake "Psycho", they are capable of anything. :p

    Hitchcock didn't like Ivor Novello, who was a giant musical comedy star on the stage.
  8. Zombi_2_1979 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2005
    star 4
    Hitchcock films shouldn't be remade. I have had opportunities in the past to see The Lodger on TCM but was unable to set aside time for it. Grr!
  9. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    So TCM does have it in their playlist? Good. That means it'll come up again. I'll put up a RARE FILM ALERT. :D
  10. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    Well, it actually was remade in 1944 with, among others, George Sanders and Merle Oberon.

    It's a loose remake, by all accounts, but apparently both films are considered great (both are on my list to see) and they are both based on the same book.
  11. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Hm, haven't heard of that remake. But I mean, I wanted to see it remade by Hitchcock.

    The Ring (1927)
    No, this has nothing to do with the recent Japanese film nor its more recent remakes in the US. This is a drama about a boxer, not conventional Hitchcock fair, so it seems. Here's the description from IMDB:
    ack Saunders and Bob Corby are two boxers in love with Nellie. Jack and Nellie are married but their marriage is flat so she starts to look to Bob for comfort.

    Another film from Hitch's silent era that I haven't seen and don't really know anything about. I don't have a poster for it, either. It's contained in some Hitchcock sets available on Netflix so I might watch it eventuall. I'm kind of curious.
  12. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    It's described in the Truffaut book, and concerns a boxer who fights all comers, knocking them out in the first round. Truffault says he likes the scene where the boxer meets a tough opponent, and they change the sign from 'Round One' to 'Round Two.' The first sign is dirty and worn; the second is pristine. Heh.
  13. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    I'll save my comments on Hitch remaking himself for later. :p

    He did some things that we consider nontypical now early in his career. I've always wanted to see his adaptation of Sean O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock . . . seems very odd for Hitch, knowing what we do now.

    It's a two way street; it would be cool to see his sensibilities loosed on a different genre, but then everytime I see him work in another genre, it rather isn't that great, so make of that what you will.
  14. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    Though some of his thrillers are very funny, and his black humour is obvious in some films, his one attempt at a black comedy, "The Trouble With Harry" didn't work.

    Haven't seen "Mr. and Mrs. Smith"
  15. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    Amazing! How did you know what I was talking about? :p

    It's odd; Shadow of a Doubt, for instance, is side splittingly funny at times. Yet try to make a 'real' comedy and it just fell flat. Strange.

    Oh, well.
  16. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    The humour in "Psycho" goes beyond black at times. :D

    I'd like to see "Mr. & Mrs. Smith". Hitchcock always disparaged it, but he's not always the most reliable judge of his own work.

    ...And I knew what you were talking about because we had this conversation before. Many times. :)
  17. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    The humour in Hitchcock movies is always great (yes, particularly in 'Psycho' :D). But I think you're right in that, though Hitch was great at putting numerous elements into his films, he was probably not suited to making a 'straight' anything film (including just a straight thriller, I think).
  18. TheBoogieMan Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2001
    star 6
    Goodness. Looking on his list of films on IMDB, the first film I've seen of his is roughly twenty films after this one. I'm going to be waiting a long time?
  19. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    Some of the British films are really good: "The Thirty-Nine Steps", and "The Lady Vanishes"....
  20. TheBoogieMan Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2001
    star 6
    Yes, the Thirty-Nine Steps is the first film I've seen of his.
  21. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    I know how you feel. The first film of Hitch's that I've seen is his first 'The Man Who Knew Too Much' (1934). So I'll try to speed through these earlier ones a bit quicker. Sorry about that. Finally got my new job squared away.


    Downhill (1927)
    In the US this was called 'When the Boys Leave Home'. From my book:
    Co-written by Novello, this visually inventive tale concerns a youth who is unfairly expelled from school and banished by his stern father for allegedly impregnating a deceitful waitress. His social and spiritual downfall become increasinglu pitiful once he is a gigolo living in squalor in Europe. Novello, who starred in the stage version, was, at 35, simply too old for the part.

    Here's the French poster, with some obvious imagery, but a rather nice design, I think.
    [image=http://members.liwest.at/hitchcock/Downhill_01.jpg]

    I'm not aware of this being available anywhere on DVD. I'm not sure about VHS.
  22. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    So, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo was a remake of this film?

    :p
  23. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    I hope not. :D

    Just a note: Hitchcock's 1937 film, "Young and Innocent" is on TCM on Friday morning.
  24. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    Why are the posters for these films so much more interesting than anything produced today. :p
  25. TheBoogieMan Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2001
    star 6
    Yeah, I was wondering that. I don't think I have an answer, either.