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October 21, 2009


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Tom Russell

A nice appreciation, Glenn. Your recounting of the family myth reminds me of the first film that I remember seeing: John Hughes's CURLY SUE. The funny thing is, I know my dad took me to see Tim Burton's BATMAN because my brother got us kicked out of the theater during the opening credits, and I further know that BATMAN came out a few years before CURLY SUE.

And yet, still, my first if not necessarily fondest memory of the cinema remains CURLY SUE.

Whereas you get NORTH BY NORTHWEST. I envy you.

Earthworm Jim

A gosh-darn beautiful piece, Glenn. This is a good example of why you're my favorite film blogger.

A similar, albeit less happy, family myth for me tells of a trip to see Spielberg's HOOK, which came out in '91 when I was a mere five years old; my cousins, who are 15-20 years older than me, recall that it was the last extended-family event to include my soon-to-be-splitsville father. I myself have no memory of the outing. I've often tried to pinpoint my earliest memory of the cinema, and the plain fact is I can't do it. I have an oddly insistent memory of going to see the forgotten animated feature FERNGULLY: THE LAST RAINFOREST, but the picture had no impact on me whatsoever beyond the image of being in a theater to see it. Having grown up in the VHS era, most of my early movie memories are of the home-video variety, incuding -- to tie everything up -- many viewings of Hitchcock movies at my dad's old apartment. I was terrified when he brought home PSYCHO, but I didn't yet realize that what scared the pants off people in 1960 would seem pretty tame in the go-go '90s. Of course I ended up loving the thing, and watched our VHS of it dozens of times.

Michael Adams

"I find myself immersed in something like a Platonic ideal of cinema, a place I might be content to rest in for many hours beyond the film's own running time." Wonderful way of describing my favorite film. The Blu-ray will encourage me to watch it more often than the longrunning twice yearly.

Andrew, Esq.

"the actual age difference between Jessie Royce Landis and Cary Grant, how terrible!"

I have a similar reaction to the ages of Laurence Harvey and Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate.


My first movie, or movie memory, is SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, during some rerelease in the last 70s, early 80s. Sitting on my mom's lap, I believe.

Dylan P.

I am surprised nobody has started a band called Truck Drivers Escape Holocaust.

... I call dibs on that!


Dibs on Truck Drivers Escape Holo...

Damn it!


Me too, Bill! Snow White, around 1981 or thereabouts, I was freaked out of my little mind.

So Glenn, does this mean you'd say that the NXNW Blu-Ray "belongs in the collection of any self-respecting cinephile"? I keed, I keed.

I'm all over this thing, should look loverly on my new Panasonic Plasma (thanks for the recommendation there, GK). One of these days, my time-strapped-grad-student ass might actually get around to watching it, too.


The first movie I remember seeing? "Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown." After leaving the theater, I went to the poster and pointed at Woodstock. Because he won the race. Whoops! Spoilers!


I have this blu-ray on pre-order and am salivating at the prospect of watching it for the first time.

Lou Lumenick

My late mother always blamed my nervousness as a child to her having seen "Abbott and Costello'' in a theater when she was eight months pregnant....

Lou Lumenick

Sorry, make that "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.'' And yes, I checked the release date.

Jason Edmiston

My favorite NXNW quote:

"How much did you have to drink?"

ROT holds up his hands like he's telling a fish story.

"Oh, about that much."


I've long thought "North by Northwest" was overrated. That crop duster scene? The one they always show in the Hitchcock highlight clips? Dumbest way to kill someone ever.

Then again it was a movie I came to after my adulthood and not a formative experience. The first movie I ever saw--wow, I think it might be "Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown" for me too. Or that other one where Charlie Brown went to France.

Glenn Kenny

@ VIdor: Yeah, you know, the crop duster method of killing a man is pretty idiotically baroque. But it reflects the whole point of what Hitchcock wanted to do. Once the film had its hooks in you, it delighted in upping the ante as far as its ridiculousness was concerned. Remember, they had originally wanted to call it "The Man In Lincoln's Nose." How, ahem, dumb is that?

That's two for "Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown." Hmmm. Admittedly, a better film than "The Man Called Flintstone." Which, God help me, I believe I DID see in a theater.

Tom Russell

"That's two for 'Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown.' Hmmm. Admittedly, a better film than 'The Man Called Flintstone.'"

But not as good as "Snoopy Come Home." That film broke my god-damn heart.

Chris Hodenfield

Learning everything there was to know about Hitchcock was a big part of my film education. I talked to everyone I could about him, and maybe the best line came from Brian de Palma who said that studying Hitchcock was like studying Bach -- you HAD to learn all about him, it was foundation.
My kids haven't been all that interested in learning about film history but the one star director they do know about and love is Hitchcock. Rear Window and Vertigo are the favorites, and they can watch them over and over.
My favorite remains Notorious.
And I think my earliest film experience was also in a drive-in. I believe the film was "Birth of a Nation."


My earliest cinema going memory was seeing 'The Gumball Rally' in a theater in Durham, NC in '76. Kinda a precurser to the 'The Canonball Run' series with a lot less stars. My dad was in the racing industry and was tight with all the stunt drivers for the movie. They made numerous appearences on-screen as characters so the theater was boistrous with the drivers talking to the screen.

About 5 years later, my dad took my sister and I to a movie very much against our wishes. We wanted to see the latest kids hash but he, in the only time I can recall of making the cinema going decision, definatively said, "we are going to see 'Rear Window'" Sister and I groaned as he told us what it was about and collectively thought 'this is gonna suck, but at least it was in color.' Looking back, I kinda believe this was the first FILM I ever saw.

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