Hitchcocktober

It is a subject of much debate, whether or not our yearly observance of Hitchcocktober is a favorite family tradition. Noah says (emphatically) no, it is not. Noah says he always sleeps through Hitchcock movies. That’s hardly a good litmus test, however, since Noah sleeps through almost every movie. It probably has something to do with his preferred movie watching position which is lying under a blanket on the couch with a cat under his head (which usually produces a fairly annoyed cat). According to Noah, we could better spend our family movie time in October watching more modern horror movies.

Chase disagrees. “No matter how bored I get with Hitchcock,” says Chase, “I’d choose to watch one of his movies over a horror film every time.” That may sound less like an endorsement of Hitchcock and more like a censure of horror movies, but when it comes time to choose our Hitchcocktober selections every year, Chase is a fully-engaged participant in the discussion.

Maggie likes to think of her family as unusual and embraces the tradition with enthusiasm. And Jeff? He’s a team player and he doesn’t complain.

As for me, I like to think that I’m doing my part in ensuring that my kids have a well-rounded education. I love that Hitchcock references have found a place in our family vernacular and the memories we’ve made as we’ve observed this tradition are priceless to me.

For future generations, for anyone interested in starting a Hitchcocktober tradition and so that we can remember, here are our reviews of all the Hitchcock movies we have watched so far.

Rear Window  I’ve always enjoyed Rear Window and I still find it full of suspense and intrigue because when she’s in his… and he’s looking at… and the dog! Yikes! Besides the mysterious elements, though, this one is simply a great movie. I love the shots of the courtyard. I think that’s my favorite stuff. Jimmy Stewart is fantastic, as always, and Grace Kelly is gorgeous and playful and so great in this movie. I love it.

This is the first Hitchcock movie we watched as a family and my kids were probably expecting something else. They’re used to big screens and superheroes, CGI and fast-paced action sequences. Consequently, they felt that Rear Window was a little slow. But, they did agree to put it back in the queue this year, so either they appreciated it more than they initially said they did or they’ve learned a bit from continued exposure to Hitchcock and are ready to try Rear Window again.

Disturbia  We decided that a study of Hitchcock could also include remakes. Disturbia (2007) is a great movie. Shia Lebeouf is awesome, the neighbor/bad guy is seriously creepy and the story line remains remarkably true to the original. It would absolutely be possible to enjoy this movie without ever watching Rear Window, but it’s definitely more fun to compare the two.

The Birds  The two things I like best about The Birds are the plot and Rod Taylor. The two things I liked best about watching The Birds with my family were their reactions when they realized that really was the ending and Chase’s impersonation of Tippi Hedren locked in the attic with the birds.

The Trouble with Harry  One of just a few Hitchcock comedies, The Trouble with Harry is a family favorite. Just as most Hitchcock mysteries have comedic elements, this comedy has mysterious elements, too. And little tiny, very young, pre-Beaver Jerry Mathers is absolutely brilliant.

Marnie  We assumed we would like this movie was because Sean Connery is in it. Unfortunately, it’s such a horrible movie and totally inappropriate for family viewing that it nearly ended our relationship with Alfred Hitchcock.

Dial M for Murder  This movie is a Hitchcock classic, among the best films of all time and another family favorite. Grace Kelly is fabulous in this movie. It’s suspenseful, mysterious and frightening. I think I may have screamed a little bit.

Rope  This movie is basically two hours of people talking in a room.

Strangers on a Train  An interesting concept, but a bit lacking in its execution. Did tennis players ever actually dress like that for a match? Strangers on a Train is apparently the inspiration for Throw Momma from the Train with Billy Crystal and Danny Devito. We’re watching that this year, too, so we’re interested to see how the two compare.

To Catch a Thief  Pretty much a must-see for fans of Cary Grant or Grace Kelly, To Catch a Thief is also a Hitchcock classic. It’s pretty tame and, consequently, not necessarily a family favorite. I love it, though.

Shadow of a Doubt  The only thing I didn’t like about this movie is that the guy I liked the best turned out to be the bad guy. I was upset about that for days.

Notorious  I’m afraid I found this one a little hard to swallow. Also, this was before Cary Grant looked good.

The Lady Vanishes  This is one of Maggie’s favorites and it’s not hard to see why. The Lady Vanishes is both comedic and mysterious with a wonderfully quirky collection of characters. It’s a perfect representation of all that is great about Alfred Hitchcock.

Torn Curtain  Honestly, you had me at Paul Newman. He and Julie Andrews are awesome together. Torn Curtain is definitely worth watching again.

The Man Who Knew Too Much  An interesting bit of trivia: The Man Who Knew Too Much from 1956 with Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day is a remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much from 1934 with Leslie Banks and Edna Best. Both movies were directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The story in both movies is the same, only in the 1934 version it’s a daughter who gets kidnapped. Both movies have the same annoying, stuck-in-your-head song.

We have only seen the 1956 version. It’s good. It’s classic Hitchcock. Everyone should watch it at least once. But, we didn’t love it enough to watch the 1934 version, too.

Psycho  Another interesting bit of trivia: When Psycho was originally released, it was rated Approved, according to the film ratings of the time. In 1968, the rating was changed to M, for mature audiences. In 1984, the rating was again changed, this time to R. This rating remains current but is considered invalid. The suggested rating is PG-13, for violent content including some bloody images.

Psycho is a movie that bridges the generation gap. It’s scary. It’s also a really good movie and we all like it. Psycho is the movie that we save to watch on Halloween every year. Most of Hitchcock’s movies are mysterious and suspenseful. Psycho will give you the creeps.

This past summer, we were playing Telestrations and Noah’s word was psycho. He drew a car backing up to a lake. I was so proud.

 

 

 

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