Here’s another post that has been on my mind for a while. Quite often, I hear people mentioning “Vertigo”, “Rear Window” and “Psycho” as soon as we start talking about Alfred Hitchcock. But here’s a man that directed 57 movies over the course of 54 years. Having watched most of these movies, I’ve decided to list a few “underappreciated” ones. How many of those have you seen?
Strangers on a Train (1951)
This was my very first encounter with the master of suspense. My mom got me an Alfred Hitchcock box-set for my 19th birthday, and I couldn’t wait to discover what was in there. Out of all the movies that I watched back then, “Strangers on a train” remains my favorite: a tense, masterful thriller that should rank as one of Hitchcock’s best work. In telling the story of how two strangers agree to kill someone the other person wants gone, Hitchcock keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time. There are twists and turns, as you would expect from the master himself, and the climax is incredibly entertaining. If you’re still discovering old films, I highly recommend this one.
Shadow of a Doubt (1942)
One of Hitchcock’s own personal favorite films, “Shadow of a doubt” is a movie that deserves more recognition in my opinion. Joseph Cotton was still fresh out of “Citizen Kane” when he was chosen to play good old uncle Charlie, who is visiting his relatives in a small American town. Soon enough, his niece begins to suspect that he may be…wait for it… a killer on the loose! A psychological thriller through and through, “Shadow of a Doubt” is more proof that Hitchcock could easily manipulate his audience, keeping them on the edge of their seat until the credits start rolling. It’s a fantastic film from start to finish.
Before 1959’s “North By Northwest”, there was “Saboteur”, another tense film that features a man who is wrongly accused of sabotage. This leads to a relentless chase across the country in order to clear his name. Talking about this underrated gem, Hitchcock said “It’s what strikes the eye that leaves the most lasting impression on moviegoers”. Indeed, the film features elaborate settings and an incredible climax atop the Statue of Liberty that is truly unforgettable. It’s a great film that needs to be rediscovered by movie buffs.
After a hugely successful 30 years in Hollywood, it was time for Hitchcock to return to England, and what better way to celebrate his return than this terrific gem? This is the first Hitchcock film to earn an “R” rating, and he made it count. There’s a sex criminal known as the Necktie Murderer roaming around 1970’s London, and it’s up to, yet again, a wrongly accused man to find him. “Frenzy” is a delicious mix of suspense and black comedy, and it features one of the most brutal murder scenes I’ve seen in a Hitchcock film. Not for the faint of heart, for sure, but it’s one of his best movies in my opinion.
Hitchcock had a very busy few years in the early 40’s, directing the Oscar winner “Rebecca” while working on so many other projects. “Suspicion” might strike you as something that could have been shot in 2 weeks, and understandably so. But it’s also very effective, making it a definite must-see in my opinion. Cary Grant was still a rising star at the time, and he’s excellent as a playboy who marries a vulnerable woman (Joan Fontaine), only for her to start suspecting that he wants to kill her. It’s unusual to think of Cary Grant as a killer, and that’s what makes “Suspicion” so intriguing to watch. I’ve seen it over a decade ago and I still consider it as one of the master’s most underrated films.