Shadow of a Doubt (1942) – 8/10 Hitchcock crime suspense drama movie review

Cast / crew
Teresa Wright: Young Charlie
Joseph Cotten: Uncle Charlie
Writer (Screenplay): Thornton Wilder
Writer (Screenplay): Sally Benson
Writer (Screenplay): Alma Reville
Writer (Story): Gordon McDonell
Producer: Jack H. Skirball
Acknowledgment: Thornton Wilder
Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Shadow of a Doubt (1942)

When Uncle Charlie arrives in the small Californian town of Santa Rosa, he is welcomed with open arms by his family, especially his niece, also named Charlie. However, she soon begins to harbour doubts about her favourite uncle.

8/10

"We’re not talking about killing people. Herb’s talking about killing me and I’m talking about killing him." – Joseph Newton

Something clearly evident here is the sense of glee that Hitchcock, and no one else, brought to the subject of murder and was a critical element in making his films so entertaining. Even though he usually made crime thrillers, Hitchcock also consistently made his films will-he-get-away-with-it’s not who-dun-it’s. He then backs that up by making it a very real possibility that the villain (a successfully cast-against-type Joseph Cotten) will, if not succeed at his malevolence, get away with it. Hitchcock’s repeated success at balancing these two elements (among others) is why he is a genius.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Alfred Hitchcock’s Saboteur (1942) – 7/10 Hitchcock wrong man thriller movie review

Cast / crew
Priscilla Lane: Pat
Robert Cummings: Barry
Director and Producer: Alfred Hitchcock
Otto Kruger: Tobin
Alan Baxter: Freeman
Clem Bevans: Neilson
Norman Lloyd: Fry
Alma Kruger: Mrs. Sutton
Writer (Screenplay): Peter Viertel
Writer (Screenplay): Joan Harrison
Writer (Screenplay): Dorothy Parker

Saboteur, Alfred Hitchcock’s (1942)

An aircraft factory worker is suspected of sabotage when his friend dies and the factory burns down but flees the police with the address of the man responsible.

7/10

Quality Hitchcock which delivers excitement, suspense, romance and humour with apparently no effort whatsoever.  Some of the speechifying grinds things to a halt and is clearly present for propaganda effect (the film was made in 1942, halfway through World War II). The two leads are pleasant enough without being particularly memorable (though Hitchcock’s use of Priscilla Lane means that her character being a model is not a negative point; imagine if a movie were made today where a model is the heroine, grief!) but when Hitchcock is doing what he does best, the set piece, the film is near faultless. The most famous set piece is the Statue of Liberty finalé which is superbly constructed and benefits from perfect special effects though the absence of music does seem an odd choice. There are many other superb set piece sequences including a shootout at a cinema, an inescapable charity ball, a fight inside a van, the opening aircraft factory sabotage sequence and more suspenseful scenes involving a blind man and a circus troupe. Hitchcock also uses a baby as a bullet-shield for the hero and I wonder just how many movie heroes did that!

This movie contains adult dialogue and violence, gory and unpleasant scenes.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Les Diaboliques (1954, Classic Crime Thriller) – 8/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Simone Signoret: Nicole Horner
Vera Clouzot: Christina Delassalle
Paul Meurisse: Michel Delassalle
Charles Vanel: Alfred Fichet, le commissaire
Producer: Henri-Georges Clouzot
Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
Writer (Original Novel) “Celle Qui N’était Plus”: Pierre Boileau
Writer (Original Novel) “Celle Qui N’était Plus”: Thomas Narcejac
Writer (Screenplay): Henri-Georges Clouzot
Writer (Screenplay): Jérôme Geronimi
Writer (Screenplay): René Masson
Writer (Screenplay): Frédéric Grendel

Les Diaboliques (1954)

8/10

Les Diaboliques opens with an excuse for it’s existence and most people will be coming to it because of the connection to Hitchcock’s Vertigo but, as everyone who’s ever seen it can testify, this is a classic in it’s own right. Henri-Georges Clouzot takes a great story, delivers intrigue and tension when he wants to and convincingly builds to a proper scary climax. More attention could have been given to the retired investigator and other teachers at the school to make their parts add fun flavour to the main course but otherwise, this is a must-see masterpiece.

This movie contains a single sexual swear word, mild swear words and substance abuse and violence, inferred sexual violence, unpleasant and scary scenes.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Notorious (1946, Movie) – 7/10 review

Cary Grant: Devlin
Ingrid Bergman: Alicia Huberman
Claude Rains: Alexander Sebastian
Writer: Ben Hecht
Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Notorious (1946)

Notoriously "easy" Alicia Huberman agrees to travel to South America and risk her life by becoming involved with a ruthless Nazi spy.

7/10

It starts rather flatly but when Ingrid Bergman meets Claude Rains again, it suddenly becomes rather brilliant and director Alfred Hitchcock remembers that he is the master of suspense. Surprisingly, Cary Grant rather struggles with the material as he is required to be moody and he and the editors don’t quite pull it off.

This movie contains adult subject matter.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Stage Fright (1949, Movie) – 6/10 review

Jane Wyman: Eve Gill
Marlene Dietrich: Charlotte Inwood
Michael Wilding: Ordinary Smith
Richard Todd: Jonathan Cooper
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Alastair Sim: Commodore Gill
Writer (Screenplay): Whitfield Cook
Writer (Adaptation): Alma Reville
Writer (Original Novel): Selwyn Jepson

Stage Fright (1949)

Eve Gill goes to extraordinary lengths to prove the innocence of Jonathan Cooper after he tells about he has been set up to take the fall for a murder.

6/10

Lesser-seen Hitchcock which becomes oddly uninteresting after about half-an-hour despite a number of interesting, though usually incidental, scenes (from Joyce Grenfell and Sybil Thorndike and there’s a good gag when Wyman disguises herself as a maid and tests it out on her mother), some decent dialogue and good performances. It’s at it’s best when Marlene Dietrich is around (except when she’s singing). Hitchcock’s most notable technical flourish sees Richard Todd followed into a house by a camera which wasn’t physically possible. It’s deceptive cleverness is brilliantly sold via a sound effect. The other notable element is Richard Todd’s opening flashback which SPOILER is a complete lie. Unfortunately, it’s more interesting as a basis for a filmmaking discussion than it is in the film.

This movie contains unpleasant scenes.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Eagle Eye (2008, Military Conspiracy Action Thriller) – 6/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Director: D.J. Caruso
Writer (Screenplay): John Glenn
Writer (Screenplay): Travis Wright
Writer (Screenplay): Hillary Seitz
Writer (Screenplay): Dan McDermott
Writer (Story): Dan McDermott
Producer: Alex Kurtzman
Producer: Roberto Orci
Producer: Patrick Crowley
Executive Producer: Steven Spielberg
Shia LaBeouf: Jerry Shaw
Michelle Monaghan: Rachel Holloman
Rosario Dawson: Zoe Perez
Michael Chiklis: Defense Secretary Callister
Anthony Mackie: Major William Bowman
Ethan Embry: Agent Toby Grant
Billy Bob Thornton: Agent Thomas Morgan

Eagle Eye (2008)

Ever-broke wanderer Jerry Shaw returns home after his military hero twin brother’s funeral to find $750,000 in his bank account and, rather more troublesomely, a great pile of bomb-making equipment, guns, military manuals and other assorted terrorist goodies in his apartment. A mysterious female voice calls him with instructions to avoid arrest which he disbelievingly scorns but he is contacted again when in FBI custody and given further unbelievable instructions on how to escape.

6/10

While it’s unavoidably rather unconvincing, director D.J. Caruso and his stars Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan do manage to suspend your disbelief and allow you to enjoy a plot that condemns a US President for making radical war-mongering decisions based on incomplete and unsubstantiated data. LaBeouf, in particular, cements his reputation with another effortlessly charismatic performance and demonstrates that there is no limit to his potential super-stardom. Director D.J. Caruso’s achievement shouldn’t be overlooked either. With Disturbia and this, he has delivered two films very reminiscent of Hitchcock (Rear Window and North by Northwest or any of Hitch’s ‘wrong man’ thrillers) and while they don’t have the panache, wit, depth or charm of the Master’s work, he certainly hasn’t embarrassed himself and has delivered two well-made entertaining movies. You can’t say that about many other directors.

This movie contains a sexual swear word, mild swear words and violence.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Disturbia (2007, Movie) – 6/10

Director: D.J. Caruso
Writer (Screenplay): Christopher Landon
Writer (Screenplay): Carl Ellsworth
Writer (Story): Christopher Landon
Shia LaBeouf: Kale
David Morse: Mr. Turner
Sarah Roemer: Ashley
Viola Davis: Detective Parker
Carrie-Anne Moss: Julie

Disturbia (2007)

Under house arrest for assaulting his teacher for making an inappropriate comment about his dead dad, Kale avoids going stir crazy by watching his neighbours, especially the hot new girl next door. Then his neighbour Mr. Turner comes home with a damaged fender on his Ford Mustang, just like the description on the news of the car of a serial killer.

6/10

While this Rear Window-inspired thriller doesn’t have the convincing plot, delightful characterisation, James Stewart, Grace Kelly or, of course, Alfred Hitchcock, it does, critically, contain tense and thrilling scenes and, in Shia LeBeouf, a charismatic young actor whose future stardom is probably unlimited.

This movie contains mild swear words, bad language, obscene gestures (sexual swear words and frequent mild swear words on commentary) and traumatic and unpleasant scenes, very strong violence, very unpleasant scenes and references to masturbation and pornography, sexuality, mild nudity.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.