The Lady Vanishes has been on my to-see list for a while, as I’ve always heard it’s one of his best. The film begins in a small, fictional European country where visitors are currently stranded at a mountain inn during a snowstorm. When the weather clears, American socialite Iris (Margaret Henderson) hits her head on the way to the train, but a cheerful British nanny named Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty) takes care of her as their journey begins. After taking a nap, Iris wakes up to find Miss Froy gone, and none of the other passengers seem to have any memory of her existence- some assume the young woman is hallucinating due to her bump on the head.
This one I’d already seen a few times, but it’s not like I’m going to pass up an opportunity to see Rear Window in a theater. I’m not that stupid. Hitchcock’s classic tale of voyeurism and friendly neighborhood murder stars Jimmy Stewart as LB Jeffries, a successful magazine photographer who’s gone stir crazy in his apartment laid up with a broken leg. He spends his days obsessively observing others in his apartment complex, all throwing their windows open in the summer heat.
The HFA has devoted a series to Alfred Hitchcock from July through September, showing almost everything in his rather large ouevre, and I finally got myself down there to catch some screenings. Rebecca was a priority, mainly because I knew it was the only one of his films to win best picture, and I’d heard it was really good. The story follows a young woman (Joan Fontaine) who meets and quickly marries a wealthy, middle-aged aristocrat (Laurence Olivier) while on holiday in the south of France. When the couple returns to his British estate, the shy and nervous new bride finds herself constantly met with derision from the head housekeeper Mrs Danvers (Judith Anderson), as well as unwanted reminders of her husband’s elegant first wife, Rebecca, who drowned a year prior.
A psychological sci-fi thriller from the 60’s starring Rock Hudson and directed by John Frankenheimer? I believe “intriguing” was the first word that came to mind! The story begins with sweaty, middle-aged bank employee Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph), who on the recommendation of a friend he thought dead finds himself in the offices of the shadowy “Company” offering to release him from his humdrum life. You see, he’s got a grown daughter who’s happily married, a well-paying job, and a friendly wife who doesn’t sleep with him anymore, so OBVIOUSLY his life is pretty shitty and he needs a new one. Which is just what this business offers: new face, new name, new house, new profession, and hopefully a new outlook.
Stoker is a grave, sensationalist tale about a quiet high school genius named India (Mia Wasikowska), who must tread carefully after her father passes away. Following the funeral, her estranged Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) immediately moves in with them and begins seducing her more-than-willing mother (Nicole Kidman). India observes her uncle cautiously, and realizes there is more to him than he has revealed. She becomes equally distrustful of and infatuated with him, and it becomes clear the two are connected by something more than just blood.