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Happy Birthday Hitch Quiz

12m_1 Sir Alfred Hitchcock was born August 13, 1899 in London, England and died 29 April 1980 in Los Angeles, California. One of the few movie directors to become a recognizable brand, Hitchcock enjoyed one of the most successful runs of any Hollywood filmmaker. In some ways, he was like Steven Spielberg: for a long time he was such a popular and successful director of commercial genre films that he wasn't taken seriously. After six Oscar nominations, Hitchcock finally won the Irving G. Thalberg Award in 1968. Time will tell if Spielberg's oeuvre holds up as well as Hitchcock's.

Here's a Hitchcock birthday quiz:
1. Which was his most romantic movie?
2. The scariest?
3. The most timeless and contemporary?
4. The most hopelessly dated?
5. Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart?
6. Tippi Hedren or Grace Kelly?
7. Your favorite Hitchcock?
8. In your opinion, the most underrated?
9. Your fave Bernard Herrman score?
10. The best quintessential Hitchcock sequence?

Here are my answers:
1. Notorious. No contest. Cary Grant plays a mysterious intelligence agent who may or may not love bad girl Ingrid Bergman, who does some amazingly self-destructive things to prove her patriotism—and win his love.
2. The Birds. Psycho isn't as scary now as it was when it opened, when it was truly surprising. The nature run amuck idea behind The Birds—with all the birds amassing ominously and attacking humans—is as unsettling and disturbing now as it was then.
3. Rear Window is as seamlessly riveting as ever. We're all voyeurs, basically.
4. The rear projection in Marnie really bugs me; the movie seems stilted and of its period. Besides, how could someone be frigid with Sean Connery?
5. Cary Grant—Notorious, Suspicion, North By Northwest and To Catch a Thief vs. Vertigo, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Rear Window. Grant seems fresh and classic. Stewart wears that fedora.
6. Two ice princesses who weren't great actresses: I'd have to vote for Kelly. But she was playing sunnier, sexier, less conflicted characters.
7. After Notorious, I love Suspicion. Another dark Grant performance hinges on whether or not he loves our doubting heroine, Joan Fontaine—who wonders if he wants to kill her.
8. To Catch a Thief--sure, this is one of Hitchcock's most popular commercial films. But there are reasons why it has inspired so many imitators over the decades: the tightly structured, witty screenplay, the gorgeous Riviera setting, the two impossibly glamorous leads.
9. Psycho. Those careening violins were terrifying. And beautiful.
10. The classic sequences in Psycho and North By Northwest are justifiably famous. I'll add the staircase POV shots in Psycho, with the knife stabbing down as Martin Balsam falls backwards, with disjunctive cutting.

And here's critic Joe Leydon's Q & A with Psycho star Anthony Perkins.


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From Anne Thompson, a Hitchcock poll, with my answers filled in: 1. Which was his most romantic movie? Rebecca- "It's gone, that sad, lost look, and I've killed it." 2. The scariest? The Birds continues to retain its power to... [Read More]


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