I feel slightly embarrassed.
When I plan on watching a film, I usually pick an actor (or actress) that I fancy, then scroll through a list their films until there’s movie of theirs that I haven’t yet seen. Naturally, I tend to gravitate to the actors and actresses that helped me form my love of classic movies. I’m used to them, and watching their films is the equivalent of eating comfort food for me.
One of the actresses whose films I was enthralled with was Grace Kelly, particularly Rear Window.
As a freshman in Highschool, I took a cinema appreciation class where Rear Window was one of the films being shown. I quickly realized that I could watch more films in that style when my young, feeble, mind discovered the glorious filmography of Alfred Hitchcock.
I watched every Hitchcock film that invoked that same feeling I had when watching Rear Window, whether it was Spellbound, North By Northwest, Notorious, Dial M for Murder, Rebecca, Suspicion, you name it. It didn’t matter, I just wanted to experience that ‘Hitchcock touch’ again.
But, there’s a problem.
Notice a pattern? Every film that I listed came from Hitchcock‘s career in the 1940s and 50s America. Although I absolutely that era of his career, there’s another side of Hitch that I had no clue existed.
If you watch TCM (and let’s be honest, we all do) then you might’ve heard about their Hitchcock 50 celebration.
Not too sure what that is?
Then let me quickly explain.
Basically, TCM and Ball State University teamed up to create a course where us movie fans able to learn and dissect Hitchcock‘s career.
Lead by Dr. Richard L. Edwards (seriously, this guy has a Ph.D. in Critical Studies from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, it’s incredible,) the course has been live for about 3 weeks and I’ve already learned so much more than I thought I would.
This is where my embarrassment kicks in.
I was your ‘basic’ classic movie fan. I only had interest in watching Hitchcock‘s American films, you know exactly the ones I’m talking about. I had absolutely no interest beyond that- until I took TCM’s Hitchcock 50 course.
The course opened my eyes to a different side of Hitch, and I’m ashamed to admit, but it also introduced me to films that I haven’t even heard of. For example: Hitchcock‘s Thriller Sextet.
From 1934 to 1938 Hitchcock made his mark on cinema history by releasing 6 films that would come to shape his entire career. The Man Who Knew Too Much, Sabotage, Secret Agent, Young and Innocent, The Lady Vanishes and The 39 Steps are the movies that changed my outlook of Hitch.
I realize that these were the movies where he honed his skills as a director. This is where he developed that ‘Hitchcock‘ touch that we all know and love. It took TCM, Ball State University, and some common sense to finally appreciate the genius of this man. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t know sooner, and for that, I apologize Mr. Hitchcock.
So, if you can, don’t limit your movie watching to one area of Hitchcock‘s career. Look at his earlier movies, I guarantee you won’t regret it!