Let’s talk about Hitchcock. Best plot twist in a Hitchcock film? Strangest character? A setting you’d like to use in one of your novels?
I won't be able to say much here, as I haven't been a follower of Hitchcock over the years. I haven't even seen Psycho! So I'll just set out in point form what I know of the Master of Suspense. At best it will give you a chance to point at my ignorance and laugh.
1) While I haven't seen Psycho, I have seen the interesting Hitchcock, a 2012 film about Hitchcock's making of Psycho -- along with other events in the director's remarkable life. This movie starred Anthony Hopkins as Hitch, and Helen Mirren as his wife.
2) I have seen The Birds, a long time ago, and was thrilled to find out Evan Hunter wrote the screenplay, because Hunter -- aka McBain -- happened to be a favourite writer in those days. Following up today, I found this online (http://www.mysterynet.com/hitchcock/mcbain): Charles L.P. Silet's interview of Hunter on MysteryNet.com, re working with Hitchcock. I found it a brief but enlightening glimpse into the complex process of turning a novel into a film.
Apparently early on Hitch told Hunter: “Forget the story (by Daphne Du Maurier) now that you’ve read it, because all we’re using is the title and the notion of birds attacking people.”
Hunter also describes the idea he had for the ending which didn't get used, it sounds like because Hitch ran out of steam by that point. Also a scene was added against Hunters' wishes, in fact one he sums up as "stupid." Hunter also says of Hitch: "... I loved working with him. He was like the father anyone wished he would have. He was intelligent, he was world-traveled. He knew everybody, he was famous, he was a star in his own right."
So that was an entertaining bit of research.
3) What else can I say about Hitchcock? The other night I watched the 1954 Rear Window with James Stewart. I liked the set-up, but expected more of a twist.
4) As for the span of Hitchcock's work, it's quite amazing. Just look at his filmography. Yes, his work stretches back to the dawn of time (almost). I had found this out by accident, as a few Christmases ago I bought a set of Hitchcock DVDs, expecting a whole whack of gripping thrillers that we could sit and watch for hours on end as the snow drifted down on Nelson. Not quite. As it turned out, it was a collection of his very first films from the '30s, many silent, which I couldn't watch through. The one I watched was hilariously aimless, with no suspense whatsoever, forget twists, and all set to nightmarishly weird music that has no nexus to the action. And what plot there was took back seat to the characters' reactions to one another and the things they did with their hats. Yet those meandering old films with their feverish milieu can be captivating too. Maybe they're ultra-modern and yet to be rediscovered! Anyway, if you're looking for strangest character in Hitchcock's films, try going back to the '30s.
All said, I admire the man for his devotion to the craft and his humour. One of these days I've really got to watch Psycho - and many others that have been and will be recommended this week on 7 Criminal Minds.