another hitchcock down. they’re starting to blend together a bit, but this one is one of the better films of his that i’ve seen during this recent run of his films. it stars wyman and dietrich, who are both top notch. i think that if i were a woman i would want hitchcock to direct me, not only because he’s one of the true geniuses of film, but because his women always turn out good performances, look good and are often different from the norm in some way. thinking of hedren in the birds or novak in vertigo or wyman/dietrich in this film or kelly in dial m for murder or…the list goes on. all of those performances are good and in all of them the woman is multi-faceted. sometimes she’s not entirely sympathetic (kelly, dietrich) sometimes she exudes an outward weakness, but an inner strength (wyman), sometimes she’s mysterious and sexy (hedren) or sometimes she changes in the middle of the film (novak). it’s odd that hitchcock directed so many great women considering his clear ‘issues’ with females.
hitchcock is a fan of curtains. he uses them, usually, to add to the mystery, the feeling of being watched, the claustrophobia, etc. this film begins with a curtain being raised over the city, which indicates the film as a production – it denotes a certain separation right off the bat. (he also used curtains memorably in rope and dial m for murder) then the film jumps right into the action – a moving car, a man (todd), a woman (wyman), some mysterious talk and then comes the flashback. the man tells a story of why he’s on the run and why he needs wyman’s help. the film’s mystery unfolds from there. it’s a pretty good ride, with some side humor and distractions.
alastair sim plays wyman’s father and he almost steals the show from wyman and dietrich. he plays scrooge in the 1951 version of a christmas carol, which i will now have to rent and watch again. B+. p.s. check out the woman behind the shooting gallery stand, she’s a hoot.