Home Arts The two sides of Alfred Hitchcock

The two sides of Alfred Hitchcock

by Isabela Sasaki December 4, 2012
The two sides of Alfred Hitchcock

Promotional image for Sacha Gervasi’s biopic Hitchcock.

Complete with “Hitchcock blondes” and the famous Psycho shower scene, the biopic Hitchcock premiered Nov. 30 at Cineplex Odeon Forum, allowing moviegoers a glimpse at the life of the mastermind behind the 1960 cult classic.

Directed by Sacha Gervasi, Hitchcock begins with an unrecognizable Anthony Hopkins as the master of suspense, and Helen Mirren as his wife and right hand, Alma Reville. The film takes the audience behind the scenes of the film Psycho, but also shows the influence Alma had on Hitchcock during that turbulent time.

Based on the book by Stephen Rebello, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, the movie begins after Hitchcock receives some bad reviews about his film North by Northwest. Frustrated, Hitchcock feels that drastic change is required to convince the critics that he hasn’t lost his touch.

When a newspaper publishes the story of murderer and body snatcher, Ed Gein, Hitchcock is inspired. Hitch, as he liked to be called, develops a small obsession with the bloody story and decides to turn it into a movie. However, Paramount decided they wouldn’t finance the movie so Hitchcock, as a headstrong artist, decided that he would make the movie regardless. He mortgaged his house and started production on Psycho.

While the making of his greatest movie is one of the main points of the picture, his relationship with his wife is also in focus. It is portrayed in a way that is not distracting, but complements the film as a whole, unifying the biography of Hitchcock.

Alma was Hitchcock’s friend and counselor and much more than just a wife. However, they had a sexless marriage and thus Hitchcock became obsessed with his consistently blonde leading ladies—since referred to as “Hitchcock blondes”. In the meantime, Alma spent her time with writer Whitfield Cook, which caused Hitchcock a great deal of jealousy. Despite their far-from-perfect marriage, their relationship is admirable because of the amount of support and companionship they continued to show each other in spite of infidelity.

The remake of the classic shower scene with Janet Leigh was beautifully played by Scarlett Johansson. Considering that it is one of the most famous scenes in movie history, the expectations were high. Johansson’s acting throughout the film was not spectacular—never being quite believable, but that scene in particular was a piece of art.

Hitchcock is easy on the eyes; Jeff Cronenweth’s cinematography is just right, using the perfect amount of suspense in each take, the right amount of light and the camera’s velocity when approaching the subject. The photography was never boring or dull. The editing is also at its best; each scene flows naturally to the other.

The movie gives the audience a shallow yet elegant depiction of Hitchcock’s life as the infamous director of Psycho and as a husband who argues with his wife, has insecurities and snores at night.

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