Movie month continues today.
Q: 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?
Caveat: I’m probably the wrong person to answer this. I left my seat in the movie theater when Janet Leigh got in the shower and the violins began screeching. I ducked out again when Tippi Hedron took refuge in a telephone booth. Believe it or not, it was decades before I saw either movie through to the end. When Hitchcock decides to scare me half to death, I am a goner. But “strangest character”? Tony Perkins, although I won’t say why in case you’re one of the 25 people on the planet who haven’t seen “Psycho.”
Let me back away from the horror stories and into some of his more intriguing mysteries, “To Catch a Thief.” That story has lots of twists and turns and Hitchcock isn’t finished with us until the original cat burglar (Cary Grant) catches hold of the criminal who is pretending to be him during a chase on the roof of a mansion during a masquerade ball. The story is operatic, the guesswork about who’s stealing the jewels is fun, and there’s a romance to enjoy. (Of course – Gary Grant stars in it!)
As to settings, I visit one of Hitchcock’s locations regularly and would love to use it in a story as an homage. In “Vertigo,” Jimmy Stewart chases Kim Novak all over the part of California I live in. One scene is shot at the foot of the south anchorage of the Golden Gate Bridge, where “Madeleine” jumps into the Bay during the movie. Come to think of it, “Vertigo” would be a great answer for the twistiness of its plot. I’m not sure I could explain it accurately, it’s so convoluted. But it works on screen, as does so much of Hitchcock’s best work.
Just don’t ask me to see “The Birds,” since I also drive to Bodega and Bodega Bay often enough so that hearing a large flock of crows cawing there would be enough to send me into terror even today!
Surely, no one has mastered the art of keeping us in blood-freezing suspense better than the little man with the puffed out lower lip and the wicked, wicked sense of humor!