Cinemagraphe


Hitchcock - 2012

Hitchcock - Released December 14, 2012. Directed by Sacha Gervasi

Gervasi's film of Hitchcock gives us the making of the movie Psycho as the frame for an episode in the life of the famous director. Examined are Hitchcock's relationships with his production company, cast, crew, and most importantly with his wife Alma. We get to see how important a role she played (i.e., very) in the creative and emotional shaping of Hitchcock's work.

Scarlett Johansson appears as actress Janet Leigh, not the most important part of this tale since it focuses more on the mechanics of the creative process (and the inner turmoil of artists), but Johansson brings the glamour which helps to paint a colorful story of Hollywood, circa 1960. Her character is seen as a stable and reliable element within a deeper story of insecurity and anxiety as Hitchcock attempts to put together his unusual production that lacks the full backing of the production company executives. Psycho will require Alma and Alfred to leverage their personal wealth, and the production becomes a contest that goes far beyond solving story problems and casting.

Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren are Mr. and Mrs. Hitchcock, and the film has a bit of soap opera progression as questions naturally become evident: why is she with him? Do they actually even like each other? Will this marriage survive the trauma of Psycho and an attendant number of other pressures and threats?

The movie doesn't delve deeply into Hitchcock's psyche and try to unearth a psychological portrait of a man famed for his dark humor and dedication to the mystery genre, though it does hint around the edges and give Hopkins (as Hitchcock) some brief moments when illuminating comments are made that describe the director's origins, his childhood experiences, and the struggle of staying in control of the creative element when that element is viewed not as artistic expression by executives, but as product.


Original page October 26, 2016


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