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November 19, 2012

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rotch

"Michael Stuhlbarg in a thankless role, although he must have been happy to play a power broker rather than the schlubs this fine actor has recently been getting kind of typecast as"

Not following Boardwalk Empire I figue.

Sad to read this review. I always thought the casting in this film was sort of inspired and was hoping for an Ed Wood-ish type of fantasy filmmaking biopic. I gather it's far from it.

ratzkykwatzky

Trying for some meta-something by having Dr. Lecter find his own Dr. Lecter in this movie? Can't remember--did Silence of the Lambs have Hitchcock refs?
Also, does this mean that The Girl is the best of the Hitchcock biopics? That's kind of depressing.

Shawn Stone

Why would anyone go out of their way to insult Frank Tashlin and Anthony Mann? Ugh.

Joel Bocko

'I insisted on "Hitch-Crock!" which I think rather good.'

I'm more partial to "Knife in the water" myself...

David Ehrenstein

There's a press screening of "Hitchcock" tonight and one tomorrow night at the Academy, but thanks to your review, Glenn, I may skip both of them.

My antipathy to Oliver Stone and his noxious fraud JFK knows no bounds. I was writing for "The Advocate" at the time it was unleashed, and thanks to my efforts James Kirkwood's definitive 1967 book about Garrison's folly, "American Grotesque," was republished.

You're absolutely right about Alma Reville. Any half-way serious Hitchcock scholar knows how important she was and what she meant to him. I'm sure Helen Mirren is fine as usual, and Anthony Hopkins is sugar-cured ham as usual.

I'd rather watch the Gus Psycho if you don't mind.

The Siren

Haven't seen Hitchcock, or "The Girl" for that matter, although I'll probably see both at some point. But this is such a cast-iron-constructed review, sardonic, witty and tightly controlled, one for the books. I feel sure I got more pleasure from reading it than the movie itself will offer.

And bless you for defending Orson Welles. You even made me want to revisit Psycho.

bill

"Even"? I think I'm in a perpetual state of wanting to revisit PSYCHO.

So they take shots at not only Hitchcock and Welles, but Tashlin, too? Glenn, this movie sounds like it was made specifically to piss you off.

Also, if THE GIRL turns out to be the best of the two Hitchcock biopics, it will be due entirely to Toby Jones's performance, which is terrific. It is also completely and thoroughly wasted in an insulting movie, unless you decide the performance justifies itself. Which I guess it does, but THE GIRL is trash.

Glenn Kenny

@ Bill, that's a bit of a Siren in-joke; she's something of a "Psycho" skeptic. As far as the insults to greater directors are concerned, the ones against Mann and Tashlin are relatively indirect. The Lew Wasserman character refers to "Winchester '73" as a "dog." And Tashlin gets it by way of varied dismissals of Martin/Lewis pictures and "Cinderfella." In short, screw these guys.

The Siren

Wait, what? Winchester '73? That's a great movie and I am puzzled by having Wasserman declare it's a dog on any level, as it was also a very big hit, enough to alter Stewart's career forever. Curious now--what on earth is having Lew Wasserman diss Winchester '73 supposed to illustrate? Is this some bizarre in-joke at the man's expense?

Davin

When I reviewed John Boorman's 'Tailor of Panama' for my college newspaper, I managed to get the headline "A Man, A Plan, A Canal - 'Panama'" past the copy desk, much to my delight.

Oliver_C

Sounds like 'Hitchcock' does for Hitchcock what the Neil Gaiman / Dave McKean graphic novel 'Signal to Noise' did for Tarkovsky, and I don't mean that as a compliment for either.

Tom Block

An insult that cuts a little deeper: the extras Warners stuck on the Blu-Ray CE of "Kane" (which you still have to buy if you want "Ambersons" just in plain DVD). The commentaries (by Ebert and by Bags) are okay if predictable, but the two main extras are "RKO 281", which makes Welles and Mank look like ninnies, and the "American Experience" documentary about how cosmically and karmically similar Welles and Hearst were. (They were both rich! And had egos! And neither got everything they wanted in life!) That one's especially galling because its entire premise is that Welles' hubris led him to a big Icarus move with "Kane", and he never again could get it together enough to make another great picture. It's so slipshod and so eager to make its lazy point that the titles of "Touch" and "Chimes" go totally unmentioned.

Anyway, my bet is a year from now people will struggle to remember seeing "Hitchcock" or "The Girl", but Warners really stuck it to both Welles and any new fans trying to learn more about his career. But at least we got some of "Kane"'s call sheets, so happy day.

The Siren

Tom, I haven't that American Experience doc, but I guess I am guilty of hero-worship because I don't care for that old version of Welles doing himself in after Kane; never thought it was fair to the man or his later work.

Mr. Peel

The WINCHESTER '73 mention by Wasserman is along the lines of "Because of me Jimmy Stewart made X off of his percentage and that movie was a dog!" More than that, though, the real eye-roller is the portrayal of Anthony Perkins that Glenn alludes too, particularly in his first scene. I could say more about my problems with HITCHCOCK and how it depicts Alma as the one who 'saves' PSYCHO during a ROCKY-esque montage but maybe that should wait until more people have seen it.

george

I was looking forward to "Hitchcock." Sorry to hear it's a dog.

Sounds about as accurate -- but not nearly as much fun -- as "Shadow of the Vampire," which had Murnau hiring a real vampire for the filming of "Nosferatu."

David Ehrenstein

"Shadow of a Vampire" is great fun because everyone involved knows just how silly the idea is. It's my very favorite Willem DaFoe performance, and it offer the well-nigh unimaginable spectacle of a restrained Udo Kier.

bill

Tom - You can get AMBERSONS separately on DVD, just FYI.

Oliver - Wait...what did Maiman say about Tarkovsky?

bill

*Gaiman. How the hell does autocorrect switch to a word that doesn't exist?

J. Priest

Right on, Tom - I've seen that American Experience doc and it's garbage. All but one of their historians/advisers on Welles took their names off it, and the one who left his name in the credits went on record expressing his disproval.

Petey

"Incidentally, i don't write my own headlines for my MSN pieces but in this case I insisted on "Hitch-Crock!" which I think rather good."

Indeed.

And a well-played use of your "this one time" power to boot.

Cadavra

Okay, someone has to be the contrarian here, and I guess it's gonna be me. I enjoyed the picture thoroughly. Is it "baloney," as Norman Lloyd put it? Yeah, pretty much. But show me one biopic that isn't. Moreover, the main point of the story--the love/irritation relationship between Hitch and Alma--is fabulously done (it's no small irony that the movie's title bears only his name), and the filmmaking sections are far truer to the production experience than I've seen in far bigger pictures, even if they get some details wrong (e.g., nobody ever called Herrmann "Bernie"). And if nothing else, I thought Johansson--an actress I generally can't abide--did right by Leigh. Plus it has one of the funniest last lines in years (excluding a brief epilogue). Finally, it has Helen Fucking Mirren. So there ya go. My two cents.

kdringg

Hey all, at least Jessica Biel looked fantastic in her early 60's look. Right? There's a positive. Glenn, take small solace in the fact that you were "professionally obliged" to see it, at least. I saw it gratis and still feel ripped off.

Peter Labuza

Your review is enough to steer me the hell away from this, which just looks trite and god awful, but now I'm curious about how they use Gein, because I'm guessing it's not accurate. I attended a conference earlier this year where a researcher did a whole oral history of the move from true story to book to film, but the fascinating thing is the details of the true story do not correlate with any of the facts in 'Psycho." Basically Gein dug up some graves and perhaps was responsible for two murders, but a lot of the mother stuff is all made up by the novel/more by Rebello (the funny thing is if you ask the townsfolk of Wisconsin today, they'll vividly recall the details of 'Psycho' instead of what actually happened, but that's how pop culture works, I guess).

The Siren

Mr. Peel, thanks; it sounds like one of those tossed-off lines that are put in scripts to give a sense of authenticity, then wind up irritating folks like us. Although hell, I don't know, maybe Wasserman really did hate Winchester '73.

David Ehrenstein

Well I went ahead and saw it last night at the L.A. premiere. Massive corwd and tons of paps.

"Baloney" s right. Anthony Hopkins' Hitchcock shows he's been attending the Frank Gorshin School For the Performing Arts. I have no idea what Alma Reville was like, but Helen Mirren is Helen Mirren ad the best thing in the movie. Several details are accurate. The MPAA was quite upset about sowing toilet in the move. But the notion that Hitch put up so much money to finance the film that f it had flopeed he would have been tossed into the street is ridiculous. He was a very wealthy man. The use ofEd Gein as a igure haunting Hotch's dreams and fantasies is ridiculous. And why wasn't Pat Hitchcock in the film? She wasn't only in his life back then SHE WAS IN "PSYCHO"!

Could it be that she objects to the entire project? I strongly suspect that's the case. And if so I don't blame her.

george

"He was a very wealthy man."

Yes. Hitchcock's ownership of MCA stock, and the massive income from his TV show, not to mention other spin-offs (books, the mystery magazine) would have shielded him if "Psycho" had flopped.

There wasn't a lot of money at stake with "Psycho," anyway (except for its advertising and promotion budget). It was made on a fraction of "North by Northwest"'s budget.

Cadavra

David, you suspect correctly. Per Mirren, Pat was against making the film and refused any cooperation.

Robert Morrow

f you want to get quickly “up to speed” on the JFK assassination, here is what to read:

1) LBJ: Mastermind of JFK’s Assassination by Phillip Nelson
2) JFK and the Unspeakable:Why He Died and Why it Matters by James Douglass
3) Brothers: the Hidden History of the Kennedy Years by David Talbot
4) The Dark Side of Camelot by Seymour Hersh
5) Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty by Russ Baker
6) Power Beyond Reason: The Mental Collapse of Lyndon Johnson by Jablow Hershman
7) Watch "The Men Who Killed Kennedy - the Guilty Men - episode 9" at YouTube - best video ever on the JFK assassination; covers well Lyndon Johnson's role
8) Google the essay “LBJ-CIA Assassination of JFK” by Robert Morrow
9) Google “National Security State and the Assassination of JFK by Andrew Gavin Marshall.”
10) Google “Chip Tatum Pegasus.” Intimidation of Ross Perot 1992
11) Google “Vincent Salandria False Mystery Speech.” Read every book & essay Vincent Salandria ever wrote.
12) Google "Unanswered Questions as Obama Annoints HW Bush" by Russ Baker
13) Google "Did the Bushes Help to Kill JFK" by Wim Dankbaar
14) Google "The Holy Grail of the JFK story" by Jefferson Morley
15) Google "The CIA and the Media" by Carl Bernstein
16) Google "CIA Instruction to Media Assets 4/1/67"
17) Google "Limit CIA Role to Intelligence" Harry Truman on 12/22/63
18) Google "Dwight Eisenhower Farewell Address" on 1/17/61
19) Google "Jerry Policoff NY Times." Read everything Jerry Policoff ever wrote about the CIA media cover up of the JFK assassination.

justin bieber shoes

I am another traditional Latin Mass Catholic for Israel and against barbarism.

"It passed almost unnoticed, but last month Benedict XVI significantly upped the ante in an argument he’s made one of his pontificate’s centerpieces. To the horror, one suspects, of some professional interfaith dialoguers and wishful-thinkers more generally, the pope indicated the Church should recognize that some types of religion are in fact “sick and distorted.”

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