One Final Thing I Have to Do… and Then I’ll Be Free of the Past.: Vertigo (1958)

One final thing I have to do… and then I’ll be free of the past.”

It’s time for our annual Alfred Hitchcock pick! I was actually planning on doing another film, but things happened, as they do, and I switched it out with this movie.

Now as you may know from previous posts, I love Alfred Hitchcock movies. I like that he has a variety of characters from all kinds of backgrounds and motivations, but typically they are just an average person who is caught up in an abnormal circumstance.

The use of lighting and shots is always amazing:

He also always knew how to pick a story-choosing one that is well done, mysterious, suspenseful, and adding his special macabre tendencies.

Now I love almost every film of his, there are only a few that I would watch once and that is good enough for me. And with those films, even though I don’t love them or feel a need to watch again and again I can still appreciate the direction he was going in. But there are two of his films that I hate: Vertigo and Marnie.

Both of those films have a man who is our protagonist and “hero”, who horribly mistreats and abuses the woman he “loves”. While Marnie has the interesting plot of why Marnie (Tippi Hedrun) does what she does, a twist that is leads to understanding her character; I still cannot stand Sean Connery’s character or the fact we are supposed to want them to be together when he not only blackmails Marnie into marrying him, but rapes her.

But we aren’t talking about that film today. We are talking about the other Alfred Hitchcock film I hate: Vertigo.

A lot of people claim this is Hitchcock’s best work but I wholeheartedly disagree as I think a lot of his other films could easily knock this film out as they have better pacing, a better storyline, and I think the actors and actresses did just as fine a job or better.

For me I really, really don’t like the storyline. How this film came to be was that Hitchcock really liked the book She Who Was No More, by the writing team of Boileau-Narcejac, but lost out to Henri-Georges Clouzet. When the book this film was based on, From Among the Dead, came out-he immediately went to bid for it. Im going to give a quick summary and then I will share what it is about this particular film that I cannot stand.

The film starts off with our main character John “Scottie” Ferguson (Jimmy Stewart), a cop who has left the police as he has severe fear of heights that caused him to let a criminal get away. His best friend, Midge (Barbara Bel Geddes), is in love with him but he doesn’t care for her and at time can be quite rude and cruel to her. He reveals that an old friend of theirs reached out o him, wanting to meet up.

Scotty goes to see his friend, Gavin Elster, who tells Scotty about his wife and how she is acting strange. He wants to pay Scotty to watch over her and find out what is going on. Scotty does, witnesses Madeleine (Kim Novak) doing a lot of strange things, falls in love with his he (even though it is his friend’s wife), but Madeline can’t be with him as she is possessed by her ancestor and has to kill herself.

Scotty you need to back off. This girl needs help-not a relationship.

Madeleine goes to the mission bell tower and throws herself off, Scotty is heartbroken at losing her (even though he has only known her for a very small, small, amount of time.

So the pacing of this film is extremely slow, especially as it is obvious that this is not a ghost story as Hitchcock never does that. I knew from the first time she tried to kill herself this isn’t the whole story. Either she faked her death, her husband got a body double so he could kill her, she got a body double to get her husband arrested or something, but no ghosts or demon possession.

I also can’t get behind a main character who is in love with another who is not in a clear state of mind. I mean it would be different if he loved her before, this was a traumatic event that caused this momentary break from reality, etc. But he just met this woman and he’s attracted to a person who believes they are possessed by their dead relative and keeps trying to kill themselves as something inside them wants to die. If you can’t handle a normal relationship with a mostly well adjusted person like Midge (she does paint herself like the dead woman so only mostly well adjusted), and instead your ideal type is unavailable, not in a good mental or emotional stare, and in a state of depression; you clearly need to see a counselor and figure out some things.

Scotty becomes depressed, has a breakdown ( I would argue he was already having one) and goes to a sanitarium. When he has “recovered” keeps thinking he sees Madeleine everywhere and runs into a woman that looks so much like her. The woman, Judy Barton (Kim Novak), starts dating him even though he makes it clear repeatedly that he is only interested in her because she looked like the girl he really loved. I’m like girl no! Run away! Run far away from this situation!

He then makes her change everything about her remaking the woman he really loves, although not really as he didn’t even “know” her, other than she was out of her mind and pretty. Everything about Judy must go until she is more and more like Madeleine. He even makes her dye her hair so she can be an exact replica.

Judy: If I let you change me, will that do it? If I do what you tell me, will you love me?

Scottie: Yes. Yes.

Judy: All right. All right then, I’ll do it. I don’t care anymore about me

Again so, so, so, so, so, many red flags. But does Judy leave? No, poor Judy continues to stay in this abuse and acquiesce to everything he asks because she loves him, and mistakenly believes he loves her too.

One of the worst parts for me is when he forces her to change her hair.

Judy: Couldn’t you like me, just me the way I am? When we first started out, it was so good; w-we had fun. And… and then you started in on the clothes. Well, I’ll wear the darn clothes if you want me to, if, if you’ll just, just like me.

Scottie: Judy, please, it can’t matter to you.

Judy: Oh, no!

Scottie: The color of your hair…

I hate this scene with the fury of a thousand suns as not only is completely wiping out her identity to become his perfect woman, but he went for the hair. A girl’s hair is more than hair, it is a part of their identity, a mark of their femininity, a connection to their culture and family, etc. I have never met a woman who did not care about her hair, it might not be her sole focus, they make cut it short or shave their head, but there is no way they don’t “care”.

It turns out that Judy and the Madeleine he met are actually the same person. His friend Gavin wanted to kill his wife for the insurance money and hired a double to make everyone think she was crazy and wanting to kill herself. He then hire Scotty to follow her as he needed a witness of her behavior and mental state; along with choosing Scotty as he knew with his fear of heights he won’t be able to follow her up the bell tower to stop her. Judy wants to tell him the truth, but doesn’t know how. He eventually figures it out when he sees the necklace Madeleine wore, the one that belonged to the relative possessing her. Judy spills and Scotty decides they must go back to the tower to right this wrong.

They do and Scotty throws her off the bell tower, killing her.

Critic and film analyst call this film a “story of a man who develops a romantic obsession with the image of an enigmatic woman…” but that is not what this is. It is a story of a man who is NOT romantic, and is obsessive, controlling, and abusing a woman. He insists he loves her, but he doesn’t love either woman, he just wants to control them. He actually follows the cycle below with Judy.

I also believe Hitchcock was really working through some feelings when making this film. Alfred Hitchcock married and stayed married to his wife, but he became in “love” with Ingrid Bergman after working with her. He used to make passes at her, was extremely coarse and sexually harassing her. He even spread a story that she got him into a bedroom at a party and demanded he have sex with her, but she always insisted it wasn’t true (and I believe her). But Ingrid was unattainable, at least until she divorced her husband for another man, and not just any man another director! And one she had a child with. I think Madeline represents Ingrid Bergman, a married woman he wanted and believed wanted him but couldn’t be together. That line Madeline says about how they can’t be together because someone within her won’t allow it, I think that is supposed to represent Ingrid Bergman’s pregnancy. Madeleine dies, and in a way Ingrid Bergman died as she left Hollywood.

After Bergman he turned his obsession to Grace Kelly, treating her the same way he treated Bergman. But she left him too, in 1956 she married the prince of Monaco and too left Hollywood. The the year before this film came out, in 1958, Ingrid Bergman left her husband and married another director, but that director was not Alfred Hitchcock. I think he had a lot of anger as these women he “obsessed over” but couldn’t have. Grace Kelly being Judy, a creation that betrayed him (marrying and leaving Hollywood) and too had to die in order for him to start again.

Which he does as Alfred Hitchcock then truly became Scotty as he found a new girl, another “Judy”, as he was obsessed with Tippi Hedren and controlled everything about her. He wouldn’t let anyone talk to her-unless they were filming, and abused her. She tried to talk to the studio heads but he was such a money maker they refused to do anything. And when she refused him, he blackballed her. Too bad she wasn’t able to have justice. If you would like to know more I really recommend reading Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies by Donald Spoto. Just like the horrible way Scotty treats Judy trying to make her his picture of a perfect woman, until he has no need of her, so Hitchcock treated Hedrun.

So I think this falling for a woman that can’t be with you and trying to recreate that creation only to have it not be with you again-plus the fact that the lead murders her something not seen in his previous films, most of the male leads are wrongly accused, or in Rebecca have a moral loophole. I think he was acting out his anger and passion that he felt toward the rejection/losing these women.

I think Midge is Alma, the woman that puts up with witnessing this destructive behavior and is their for the person, even though they don’t really deserve it.

And before you start thinking I’m too conspiracy with this thought one of people credited with the screenplay is Samuel A. Taylor who never read the original novel, but only was given Hitchcock’s outline of the story. So the plot we have comes solely from what Hitchcock wanted it to say.

Hmmm…

I also don’t like that our lead murders someone, this is something not seen in his previous films, as most of the male leads are wrongly accused, or as in Rebecca have a moral loophole. I think Hitchcock was acting out his anger and passion that he felt toward the rejection/losing these women.

With the content of this film, I will end on this:

I Am a Survivor of Domestic Violence and I Know Help is Out There:

Are you being abused?

It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:

  • Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
  • Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
  • Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
  • Controlling all the money, even money you earn
  • Blaming you or your kids for everything
  • Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
  • Treating you like a servant or slave
  • Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
  • Controlling who you see, who you talk to
  • Humiliating you in front of other people
  • Refusing to let you leave the relationship

It can also look like the below cycle

If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.

Horrofest X: Have Yourself a Haunted Halloween

It’s that time of the year again! Time for another Horrorfest, 31 days of horror, mystery, monsters, etc.

So I started Horrorfest back when I first began blogging. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with it, the direction I wanted to go in. Since I like to watch scary movies every day in October, I decided to review them, and I had so much I fun I continued every year.

I know some people aren’t interested in it or would think it has nothing to do with my blog’s title, but you know who would love it and be so into horror films?

When I started this, I used a lot of stills from the movies I was reviewing and ended up with a a bunch of photos I couldn’t reuse for future posts. Since then I try to add less, unless I think I can use it for future posts or that it is crucial to the story. Instead I reuse old photos and I try to caption each photo with what film it came from, but at times I forget.

Over the years I have established a set of rules and annual films categories.

Rules are there must be at list one film or TV show episode:

  • From every decade (1930s-2020s)
  • by Alfred Hitchcock
  • Is animated
  • made by Disney
  • by Stephen King
  • by Tim Burton
  • starring Vincent Price
  • And is in some way Jane Austen related

The Jane Austen one is the hardest to do, although two years ago I had several. There was the Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans Alta Mar AKA High Seas,Death By Persuasion” from Midsomer Murders, Rebecca, and Strong Woman Bong Soon; along with the film that led to Sense and Sensibility (1995) being made-Dead Again.

Last year we had several films with Jane Austen Bingos (actors from Jane Austen productions spotted in another film), and I finally reviewed Northanger Abbey (2007), one of my favorite Jane Austen adaptions. I also started a new tradition, #CelebrateHalloweenwithNorthangerAbbey, something I will be continuing this year! So be sure to join me!

Another tradition I added a few years ago is dressing Jane up in costume every year. Last year I did Jane the Vampire Slayer to go with my review of Return of the Vampire (1943).

This year I decided to make Jane a Ghostbusters.

Well, I hope you enjoy this year’s picks-so far we have vampires, zombies, aliens, mysteries, monsters, gothic stories, film noir, and more!

For the original Horrorfest, go to I Don’t Belong in the World: Carnival of Souls (1962)

For Horrorfest II, go to There Are Many Strange Legends in the Amazon: The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

For Horrorfest III, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

For Horrorfest IV, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For Horrorfest V, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For Horrorfest VI, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For Horrorfest VII, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For Horrorfest VIII, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For Horrorfest IX, go to Time for You to Awaken, Master. Time for You to Go Out: The Return of the Vampire (1943)

Murder She Hoped: Raising Hope (2013)

I am a big fan of Raising Hope. I love the characters, the storyline, and just find it fun and hilarious. I especially love the ’80s references.

I LOVE the '80s

I LOVE the ’80s

The show is about James Bon Jovi “Jimmy” Chance, who is in his early twenties and a slacker. He left school before graduating, works for his dad, and spends most of his time getting drunk with his friends.

Truth be told I don't

About life.

His mom and dad, Burt and Virginia, had him when they were 15 and have made a lot of mistakes over the years in raising him as they have no clue in what they are doing. All live with Virginia’s grandmother, Maw Maw, in her house. Maw Maw suffers from dementia and they have to care for her as she swings in and out.

Carnival of Souls Don't know real

Everything changes when Jimmy has a one night stand with a woman who turns out to be a serial killer. She is sentenced with the death penalty but before she dies she gives birth to a daughter, this little girl being given to Jimmy to raise.

What?!

What?!

So now they all band together to try and raise this girl, with three of the adults having no clue about children and one who is not in her right mind.

spockstartrekidon'tknowokayiguesmovingongo

Throw in some other great characters: Sabrina, rich girl trying to “make it on her own” as a grocery clerk; Barney, the dorky but heart of gold store manager; Frank, a strange coworker; an evil cousin Delilah; and more.

Supernaturaldean whinchester shrug smile oh well

Will Jimmy be able to raise her right? Or will he make the same mistakes as his parents?

This was the first episode I saw as my friend knew I would love it. This episode is fantastic as it is a homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window:

So as this takes place in the last season-I’ll do a quick wrap up. Jimmy had a gigantic crush on Sabrina and after the previous seasons of his being friends with her, them dating, they ended up getting married and moved into Sabrina’s grandma’s house. Since then Burt and Virginia have stayed with Maw Maw taking care of her.

Unfortunately, I can’t rewatch this episode as it is on Hulu and I don’t have that streaming service. So we will be going off my memory.

Hmm…?

In this episode, Burt and Virginia have new back fence neighbors and are super excited as they haven’t had any for years. They call that the “weirdo” house as no one stays very long-they are there for not that long and then gone. The meet them and the guy Gary seems like a lot of fun to Burt as he wants another best friend, and Virginia is happy to have people who she can talk to and borrow sugar from. Virginia also gets her hair done cheap at the local senior citizen home and gets it done in ’50s styles mimicking Grace Kelly’s style as Lisa. They are also doing themed weeks at her work (she cleans houses), and her dress looks just like the one in Rear Window.

So in this episode, they have started taking walks after dinner around their neighborhood. All the people they see are based off the different neighbors in Rear Window. A dancer, pianist, married couple who are sleeping outside on a mattress, etc.

IT’S TRUE!!!!

As Burt is walking, he trips on a root and falls breaking his leg. He’s stuck in a wheelchair-just like Jimmy Stewart’s character.

That night they have the back fence neighbors over for dinner. Gary is all smiles, creepy smiles and Gina is acting really strange. She is worried, keeps flubbing answers saying the wrong thing-Gary correcting her. It’s so weird-something is clearly not right in this marriage.

Hmm…

Gary likes to thumb wrestle and really enjoys facing off with Burt. Burt enjoyed his company but he is done-they go home and Virginia enjoys being with Gina but Burt feels like something is clearly not right there.

Hmm…

The next day Virginia tries to borrow a cup of sugar but Gina tells them they don’t have any. Her husband comes back and starts acting weird giving them packages. He asks if they wouldn’t mind holding them and of course the Chances say no.

That night the hear yelling and something crashing. They are both afraid something happened and call the police. The police won’t come because the Chances have called too many times-birds were attacking them (The Birds), thought a murderer in the house (Psycho), etc. and instead they send a member of their auxiliary force-Barney-their friend and the manager of the grocery store.

He has a tooth ache and mimics Jimmy Stewart’s voice as he talks. He tells them they are overreacting and that Gary and the wife are fine.

Barney leaves and the two decide they were just overreacting.  They continue to collect Gary’s packages but then Burt sees that the wife isn’t there, instead it is another lady. He starts getting curious and looks through he packages finding an axe and jewelry engraved with “Carla”. They begin to believe that Gary killed his wife and is trying to be with this lady-Carla.

They start investigating, using an old toy of Jimmy’s Miss Suzy Snoop. The telescope used for spying mimics the telephoto lens used by Jimmy Stewart’s character, Jeff.

They want to investigate and try to enlist Jimmy and Sabrina, but while Jimmy is into it-Sabrina is done and takes him and Hope home.

The parents keep snooping and it is a really great episode with a twist ending I don’t want to ruin for you.

This is a great episode and even some of the shots are done to mimic Rear Window. It really is a delight to any Hitchcock fan.

TV episode

For more Raising Hope, go to I Only Care That You Succeed: How I Met Your Mullet, Raising Hope (2014)

For more Alfred Hitchcock, go to One Day You’ll See Something You Shouldn’t: Rear Window (1954)

A Carefree Holiday Suddenly Plunged Into Danger: The Moon-Spinners (1964)

It’s time for our Disney film!

My mom has always been a huge Hayley Mills fan and I grew up watching all her films. I love all of them, but my second favorite has always been The Moon-Spinners (That Darn Cat is first).

So my mother recorded it off TV years ago and I watched the film with her. Years passed and I wanted to watch it again but our tape had worn out and the end was missing. I tried hunting for it as I just had to know, what happened in the end.

Tell ME!!!!!

The copy I borrowed from the library was also no good as right when it came to the part I wanted to see, the white lines of boredom.

{Picture from Ringu)

Eventually I decided that  I needed to just buy a copy, but had real trouble finding one-this was back when ebay was entering the everyday vernacular and amazon was just barely making name for itself). Then we also had  Disney putting things in “the vault” so super hard to get the older movies. Years passed but whenever I would look for the film it was either sold out, “soon to be added”, too expensive, VHS, or USED. I finally found a copy this year and bought it for my mom for Mother’s Day this year.

Looking at this film now as an adult, I can clearly see why I was into it. This film is very similar to the style of Alfred Hitchcock. The thriller starts with an average ordinary person who gets caught up in this web of intrigue accidentally.

There are quite a few scenes and story points that are also reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock, all being things I love. I later looked up some trivia and read that that Walt Disney purposely wanted this to be like a Hitchcock movie and had the writers borrow some motifs, but still give it a Disney ending.

So without further ado…

Nikky Ferris (Hayley Mills) and her Aunt Frances are traveling through Greece collecting folk songs as she is a musicologist for the BBC. They rented a room at The Moon-Spinners Inn, but unfortunately for them the owner, Sophia’s (Irene Papas) brother is causing some issues. Stratos (Eli Wallach) has returned after 15 years living in England and has been in such a bad mood since his return. He doesn’t want anyone in the hotel (and unknown to his sister has been throwing away reservations). He causes a scene with her, but Sophia ends up renting the rooms to the two ladies after they arrive hot, bedraggled, and tired from their trip on the bus.

From The Iron Giant

There is only one other guest at the hotel, Mark Camford (Peter McEnery). When Nikky and Frances arrive, Nikky has not been having the best holiday. But as soon as she sees dashing Mark, she perks up.

The three eat together that night and enjoy Mark’s company, but while he is charming and cheerful, something seems off. He keeps looking and watching-something is between him and Stratos.

Hmm…?

So Nikki is really into Mark and tries to flirt with him and he is nice, but he’s totally drunk and kind of all over the place. I never noticed that as a kid, I always thought he was just having fun.

Huhhhhhhh

Nikky had spoken to Sophia’s son Alexis (Michael Davis) and heard about different beautiful places to swim. She talks about it and she and Mark make plans to go out in the morning together to swim and have a picnic. Nikky is excited.

After the ladies go to bed, Stratos goes out to the Bay of Dolphins with Mark following him. Ah ha! He either got sober real quick or he was just pretending to be-trying to throw Stravos off the scentMark is seen and a fight ensues with Mark being shot. He falls in the water.

Stratos returns the hotel and cleans out Mark’s room, him having “checked out”.

That’s not good.

The next day Nikki is happy and excited for her date and when she gets to the Bay, there is no Mark.

From The Wolf Man (1941)

She waits around for a bit and checks back at the hotel with Stratos telling her that Mark checked out. Nikki doesn’t feel like that’s right, I mean she only met and spoke to him last night but they seemed to have a connection. Or at least he seemed nice enough to tell her instead of standing her up. She starts looking/wandering and finds what looks like his shoe, but just one.

She goes to an old historic church and notices some blood and finds Mark wounded in the church. Wanting to help him, she leaves her sweater over him and takes off back to the hotel. She searches Mark’s room, but can’t find a single thing that belongs to him. Instead she steals her Aunt’s first aid kit and blanket, smuggling some brandy out of the hotel-just barely avoiding being spotted by her Aunt.

That scene is stressful as you know Mark is heavily in need of assistance and if he doesn’t get it he’ll die!

She manages to make it and goes to Mark giving him all the supplies. Mark won’t tell her why he was shot, who shot him, what this is all about etc. Instead he sends her home, trying as hard as he can to not  involve her .

She leaves after much protest and returns to the Inn. There Frances complains about her missing items, Stratos hears them and immediately knows that his problem hasn’t been destroyed.

That’s not good.

Nicky tries to get sway as soon as she can so as to warn him, but ends up being captured by Stratos. Startoes sees the blood trail and follows it but doesn’t find mark. He takes Nikky with him.

Aunt Frances begins to grow worried when Nikky doesn’t return. Stratos leaves and goes “looking” for her. The next day Frances leaves for the police, located in the next village.  Sophia begins to think that her brother did something, but when she questions her brother he threatens her son, Alexis. After that, Sophia stays quiet.

What a horrible man, I do like that we don’t see anything horrible happen (it is still a Disney film). But what is inferred is truly, truly horrible. I mean this is his nephew! And he is threatening to kill, maim, hurt, destroy his own nephew!

Alexis is out with his donkeys and finds Nikky in the windmill trapped.

He goes for help and finds Mark who tries his best to help with a wounded arm. This is like the best scene in the whole movie. I tried to find a clip, but unfortunately I couldn’t. So they climb on the windmill and use the sails to get in to help Nikky, and then to get out. This scene was so scary as if you fell when the sail was at the very top, ouch dead or injured.

This is always where my copy ended, after the windmill scene. I have to say this really is the most thrilling part of the film, so no wonder it hooked me good.

After that they try to go to the next town to reach the police, but Stratos friend comes after them.  They have to stop as Mark needs rest, his injury is really giving him trouble. They wait in some temple ruins filled with cats, that’s how you know it is safe

And Mark finally tells her his story. So Mark was a London bank messenger and supposed to be taking these famous jewels to the Countess Fleet. He was distracted, as there was a girl involved, and after the robbery he wasn’t prosecuted as there wasn’t enough proof, but he did lose his job and has a dark cloud over him. He remembers Stratos and followed him Greece to try and get proof of his innocence. I love how when he tells the story Nikky clicks on to one thing.

Mark Camford: You believe me don’t you?

Nikky Ferris: About the girl?

Mark Camford: No, about ME.

The next day they are awaken by John Gamble, of the British counsel. He offers them to come to his place for food, baths, medical attention. As Mark is in serious need and he’s from their country-Nikky convinces Mark to go with him, and they leave the shot gun behind. They go to his extremely nice house and get all they were promised. The weird thing is that his wife Cynthia really likes Nikky and finds her a sweet girl but always is sad around her. Nikky wanders about the house and uses a telescope on the balcony to look at a yacht in the water, it is a famous one owned by the infamous Madame Habib and her world famous jewel collection.

Now I have seen almost every Alfred Hitchcock movie and episode of his TV show-so I know this man is evil. This is just like in The 39 Steps or Saboteur when they go to the rich influential man in power, only to see that he is in fact working for the other side and going to betray them.

Nikky goes to see Mark and he shares that the jewels are too famous to be sold on the open market so Stratos must have a certain buyer in mind. Nikky mentions Madam Habib and Mark is convinced it must be her, wanting to add another famed piece. Nikky thinks they should get help from the Gambles, but Mark doesn’t trust the Gambles. He They are…something is very, very off about them. Later Mark tries to leave and can’t even stand-drugged. Aunt Frances comes and Gamble arranged for them to go to the airport while Mark will be dropped off at the hospital, yeah right they are probably going to kill him.

Mark ends up escaping, as he needs to get those jewels and the proof, and it turns out Gramble and Stratos are working together.

There is a giant Carnival/festival happening, making stop and go traffic as they have to wait for people and such to past. After Mark takes off, Nikky follows but loses him. She instead steals a boat and heads out to the yacht. Jeez, this boy has really been a bad influence on her.

He’s a bad boy

All comes to a head on Madame Habib’s yacht as Nikky tells her the story, Stratos arrives to sell the jewels and fights with Nikky, Mark arrives to get his proof, Aunt Frances comes with the police, etc. Mark is cleared, Frances told the story, Stratos jailed, Nikky and Frances can enjoy the rest of their holiday and poor Madam Habib gets nothing.

Madame Habib: Well, since this seems to have turned into a family reunion, we might as well make the best of it. I will have dinner served on the rear deck. I’m so upset… I shall have mine in bed.

So this was a cute but thrilling movie and a lot of fun to watch. It also will be enjoyable for any Alfred Hitchcock fan out there.

For more Disney films, go to Basil of Baker Street: The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

For more Hayley Mills, go to That Darn Cat

 

One Day You’ll See Something You Shouldn’t: Rear Window (1954)

One day you’ll see something you shouldn’t

 

I have always wanted my birthday to be in October.

I love fall, the colors, the weather, Halloween. Even as a child I just adored the holiday and the classic monster movies.

Even though October will always be my favorite month, I do love one thing about May. I share the same birthday as my favorite actor-Jimmy Stewart.

It’s time for the annual Alfred Hitchcock film.

And as seen from the above poster, I am going to share one of my favorite of Jimmy Stewart Alfred Hitchcock movies. Rear Window is such a great film because it is so relatable. Who hasn’t glanced in a neighbor’s window when passing? Who hasn’t people watched when bored? I know, I have. In fact, one of the reasons I keep my blinds closed and curtains drawn is that I hate the idea of people watching me.

It’s a great setup and one that has since been copied over and over again, so let’s start with the original classic.

We start looking at a window who’s blinds are slowly coming up as we see all the cast names. Then out the window a little cat, people on their balconies, birds, milkman, a man shaving, neighbors across the way sleeping outside in the open air, a beautiful dancer girl stretching and making breakfast.

This movie was shot on set and included thirty-one apartments, of which twelve were fully furnished. The actors spent all their time in the apartments as many had running water, etc.

While shooting, Alfred Hitchcock worked only through Jeff’s “apartment”, everything is filmed from those set of windows to make it seem as if Jeff was watching. The actors and actresses in other apartments wore flesh-colored earpieces so that he could radio his directions to them.

We then go to Jimmy Stewart, L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies, who’s leg is in a cast, a broken and a mangled camera on the counter and all his pictures-bomb, car crash, and a negative of a woman, the actual picture gracing the cover of a magazine. I love how Alfred Hitchcock just shows us-we see he was an important photographer and the car crash is what caused the accident.

It has been six weeks since he had his leg in the cast, he has just one more week left. His editor called him because he wanted him to go on an assignment, but he can’t as he still has a cast. Jeff is angry, bored, grumpy, and hates everything.

He’s watching his neighbor across the way, a husband and wife who are arguing as he talks to his boss. He’s thinking of getting married because he’s so bored, but has second thoughts as the neighbors do not have a good relationship, the two always yelling. Afterwards, the man goes out to the garden.

Death Comes to Pemberley

In comes Stella, Thelma Ritter. She’s Jeff’s nurse and plays this role as she does every role-sassy. Stella insists that she can sense trouble and she says that she senses it in the apartment, that Jeff will see something he shouldn’t and end up in a courthouse surrounded by lawyers…

Hmm…

Jeff complains that trouble is on the horizon with Lisa Freemont (Grace Kelly), she wants them to get married but he doesn’t. She’s too perfect-beautiful, smart, talented, rich, park avenue girl, etc. She’s an uptown girl and he’s a downtown man. He doesn’t see how it will work, as he would be better with someone ordinary and regular.

Or plot!

Stella thinks he’s being dumb and should just be happy to be with Lisa. I love Stella-she’s just says what she wants and doesn’t think about it. Jeff over thinks except when he takes his pictures.

Jeff looks out at his neighbors and sees a new couple that have just been married. Alfred Hitchcock doesn’t tell you these things but shows them in the way they act, the husband taking the girl out and carrying her over the threshold so you know they are married. And then they close the blinds down

It’s night and we see Jeff sleeping ad kissing the beautiful Grace Kelly, it isn’t a dream though as that’s his girlfriend Lisa Freemont. She’s in a gorgeous dress and we see the full effect as she turns the lights on. She helped choose her own clothes and did it perfectly.

Lisa: A steal at $1,100.

Jeff: Eleven hundred? They ought to list that dress on the stock exchange.

She is gorgeously attired, as usual, but even more so as she wants to celebrate his final week in a cast. She got dinner from 21 to go-food and wine. It’s funny because that was novel then (Lisa doing it because she paid quite a bit and is an “important client”), but now every restaurant has a service like that.

Lisa shares her day-clothes, lunch, drinks, breakfast, money, money, money money. I can see why Jeff doesn’t think they will work, I’m totally with him. They seem to have very little in common. You can see why she cares for him though, he’s very different and treats her different from probably the other men in her life. I wonder how they met…oh yes-the magazine earlier with the picture of the woman was a fashion one.

Jeff looks out the window and sees a woman all dressed up and acting as if she is on a date-but she’s alone. Aw…it makes me wonder-do you think she is a widow and misses being in a relationship so she reenacts it, or do you think she’s just alone? A widow makes more sense to me, or even if it is her boyfriend that died.

They look at Miss Torso (the ballerina) she’s beautiful and has a lot of men over-Jeff thinks she’s happy, but Lisa isn’t convinced.

Jeff: She’s like a queen bee with her pick of the drones.

Lisa: I’d say she’s doing a woman’s hardest job: juggling wolves.

Jeff looks at the apartment where the husband and wife fight a lot. She’s always sick in bed, but strangely today the husband made her food and seems to be taking more care. He’s on the phone we see him in the window in one room and she in the other, she gets out of bed and is yelling-upset. They go into the other room and she is freaking out crying, laughing, hmmmm.

Hmm…

Another apartment a man is trying to compose something, Lisa loves the music. Lisa tries to build the romantic mood, but Jeff is just shooting her down. I get he’s trying to get her to leave him, break it off, but its really rude. Jeff then tries to break it off, but Lisa says no.

Lisa is a bit of a jerk in the relationship too, she goes on and on because she’s angry and won’t let Jeff. try and share his thoughts. He tries to get her to see how different they are, and I like this. She’s in obvious denial about his life and thinks if he can talk over here she will listen. This feels so real-she loves him and wants to be with him and doesn’t want to give it up.

Awwww. Eventually, Lisa’s had enough. She’s hurt, puts on her gloves and pashima, and leaves-good-bye. Now that he hears the finality in her voice he doesn’t want her to leave. Lisa hears it, and reneges. She’ll be back tomorrow night.

Jeff: When am I going to see you again?

Lisa: [angry] Not for a long time…[softeningat least not until tomorrow night.

We see Jeff thinking. That’s what he wanted, good-bye? Right?

That night he hears a scream and a crash. He wakes up later to rain and sees the couple who sleep outside hurrying in. But then the couple earlier-the man and wife who were fighting, he leaves with suitcases. He’s gone for a while and returns with the suitcase. Then the man goes out again with the suitcase, in the rain…Weird.

Hmm…

Why would he do that tonight of all nights, and in the rain? And why twice?

Hmmm…

Jeff tries to stay up, he looks a the apartment, all the blinds are down and no sign of the wife. Miss Torso is back, screaming at someone on the other side of the door-upset.  Her date looked like he was trying to push his way in.

Ugh…

The man comes back with the suitcase. It’s very odd, very odd. And later in the morning he is at it again, but it looks like a woman is with him?

Hmm…

The next day Jeff tells Stella about seeing him going out with his salescase at 3 in the morning. Stella laughs it off-and comes up with explanations, but i don’t think so. That’s highly suspicious.

Hmm…

They watch the salesman, but Jeff makes them scoot back so the Salesman can’t see them, and I love the transition from light to darkness.They notice that the salesman is looking at the dog who was digging around where the salesman buried something. He then notices the salesman cleaning out his sample case and putting all the samples back in. Then what did he have in their before? Jeff scoots back so his head in shadow and watches him with the binoculars, changing them out for his telephoto lens.

The salesman is wrapping up a butcher knife and small saw in newspaper and sleeping on the couch. Why isn’t he going in his bedroom?

Hmm…?

That night the dog is again digging in that spot, but is taken inside by his owner. You know I like that they show these scenes only in the morning and night, as during the day they are gone working. I never noticed that before.

Jeff shares his suspicion of the neighbor with Lisa, but Lisa isn’t interested she wants to continue to kiss. The Salesman hasn’t gone in the room where is wife is all day and he didn’t go to work that day.

Jeff: I’ve seen bickering and family quarrels and mysterious trips at night, and knives and saws and ropes, and now since last evening, not a sign of the wife. How do you explain that?

Lisa: Maybe she died.

Jeff: Where’s the doctor? Where’s the undertaker?

Jeff thinks that he must have killed her and cut the body up. He’s been gone for a long time but comes back and finally goes in the room with rope. I’m totally with Jeff, it’s weird that she’s an invalid in need of constant care, but he hasn’t gone in there until now. Lisa thinks he is being crazy and tries to reason him out of it.

But then Lisa looks and she starts thinking too. They see that he has a suitcase tied up and the mattress all rolled up. Lisa starts thinking about what he says and then asks him to start at the beginning.

Lisa: Tell me exactly what you saw and what you think it means.

This is really cute as they finally have something in common. Lisa goes to do the legwork and finds out that they are Mr. & Mrs. Lars Thorwald. It’s so cute they are going to investigate this “crime”.

Time to get on the case!

Jeff calls his friend Detective Doyle (Wendell Corey), but he’s not interested. He is finally convinced to come over and talk later when he has some free time.

Ugh! We need you now!

Now Stella is all into it and she’s also trying to help solve it. She’s convinced that Thorwald did it in the bathtub. Men come into Thorwald’s apartment and cart the trunk away, Stella runs off to investigate the name of the freight truck, I love how they are so into it.

From Midsomer Murders

Detective Doyle isn’t convinced about there having been a murder. He says all the same things Lisa did, it’s too obvious to do it the way Jeff is saying. He says that he won’t do an “official report” but will poke around a bit and heads out. Not helpful at all, but Jeff is distracted when he sees the dog digging in the spot Thorwald buried something again. Hmm…what is in there?

Hmmm…

Jeff does see his friend talking to the landlord. It turns out Thorwald signed a 6 months lease (completed 5.5 months), he and the wife “left” at 6 am, they aren’t close to any neighbors, he doesn’t drunk, is the perfect renter, etc. Jeff asks who said they left at 6 am, the landlord said that Thorwald told him that he put his wife on a train.

Hmm…

Jeff tries to get him to investigate and search the apartment, but he tries to explain to Jeff he can’t do that. Oh, Jeff-he has to have a search warrant. Detective Doyle decides to leave, but shares a post card with Jeff that was in Mr. Lars box-it is from his wife saying that she is with her sister.

Jeff is disappointed but doesn’t give up. It just doesn’t jell with him.

I don’t trust Thorwald.

Jeff uses his telephoto lens to watch  different people. Miss Lonelyhearts, the woman with no date is getting ready, but drinking a bit. Quite a bit. She leaves that night.

The composer is having  party with pretty ladies. Miss Torso is practicing. Miss Lonelyhearts goes across the street to the diner and then Thorwald comes into view. He just looks mean and like a murderer The glasses gives his eyes a squinty look, plus the way he walks-creepy. A great actor, he does so much in just his movements.

Alfred Hitchcock supposedly hired Raymond Burr to play Lars Thorwald because he could be easily made to look like his old producer David O. Selznick, who Hitchcock hated for interfering.

Jeff picks up his phone and calls the Detective’s home. He asks his wife to send him over if she hears from him, LOL before cellphones. Thorwald has his wife’s purse-weird as wouldn’t she take that with her. He’s on the phone long distance as he goes through the bag, all full of jewelry. Why wouldn’t she take her jewelry-necklaces, and rings. Most women who wear jewelry would. Hmm… He hides the purse with everything under his coat and jacket on the bed.

Hmmm…

Lisa comes over and Jeff points Lars out sharing everything. She finds it to be very telling that he asked someone for an opinion on his wife’s jewelry-someone not his wife. Lisa shares that she has been thinking about this all day. A woman has a favorite handbag, one she uses before the others-if she were to go on a trip, she wouldn’t leave it behind. She also points out that a woman doesn’t throw her jewelry in her purse where it would get twisted up. Lisa thinks the woman wasn’t Mrs. Thorwald, but just a woman-the soon to be Mrs. Thorwald.

Oh, wow…

Now they have something in common  they have grown closer together. Lisa plans to stay all night, and Lisa shows that she can live out of one suitcase, she put all her stiff in n ovenight case the size of a medium handbag. The dialogue is cute as well. She says in all detective literature you need a girl friday to help save the day. She’s not wrong.

Detective Doyle comes over sees the suitcase and hears Lisa and uses his detective skills to put it together. He comes in and looks at the room, and it is clear that he is hooked as well, not convinced but intrigued. Detective Doyle shares that Thorwald is not a murderer. He can’t explain everything , but the railroad station-ticket was bought, wife delivered, etc. Lisa tries to argue with him, but Detective Doyle is against women’s logic. He found the trunk and it was full of the wife’s clothes. That was weird-Jeff questions it, but Doyle shrugs off that she probably left him.

Such a man!

I love the look of disgust Lisa gives the detective, your misyoginy is not welcome here, she walks over and stands by Jeff-Doyle geting the hint to leave. Boom.

Miss Lonelyhearts brought a man home with her, hmm. He grabs her, and she is not interested. She slaps him ad throws him out. She falls down crying. Aww,

Jeff starts wondering if what he is doing is wrong. Lisa lets the blinds down as she wants to be his sole focus.

Lisa changes her clothes, but is interrupted by a scream. The woman with the dog is freaking out because her dog is dead-strangled, neck broken.

Miss Lonelyhearts tucks the little dog carefully in the basket. His owner cries and yells at them all for being horrible neighbors.

Woman on Fire Escape: [the woman’s dog has just been killed from a broken neck; screaming in distraught at the other neighbors] WHICH ONE OF YOU DID IT? WHICH ONE OF YOU KILLED MY DOG? You don’t know the meaning of the word ‘neighbors’! Neighbors like each other, speak to each other, care if somebody lives or dies! BUT NONE OF YOU DO!

Jeff sees it and knows he is right-Thorwald murdered his wife and this dog. In the whole courtyard one person wasn’t surprised and didn’t come to the window like the others did-Thorwald.

They see Thorwald cleaning the bathroom-Stella is still convinced that he killed her in the bathroom and the blood splattered. Jeff looks at the yard and notices something is not right.

He looks through old pictures and notices that the flowers are shorter-he buried something in the garden. Lisa thinks it is the body-but Stella tells her that a full body wouldn’t fit. He buried something and the dog kept something important is in there.

Lisa: What’s he doing? Cleaning house?

Jeff: He’s washing and scrubbing down the bathroom walls.

Stella: Must’ve splattered a lot. [both Jeff and Lisa look at Stella with disgustCome on, that’s what were all thinkin’. He killed her in there, now he has to clean up those stains before he leaves.

Lisa: Stella… your choice of words!

Stella: Nobody ever invented a polite word for a killin’ yet.

Jeff: Those two yellow zinnias at the end, they’re shorter now. Now since when do flowers grow shorter over the course of two weeks? Something’s buried there.

Lisa: Mrs. Thorwald!

Stella: You haven’t spent much time around cemeteries, have you? Mr. Thorwald could hardly bury his wife’s body in plot of ground about one foot square. Unless he put her in standing on end, in which case he wouldn’t need the knives and saw.

They notice that Thorwald is getting ready to flee and need to keep him there until they get more evidence. They write a note asking “What have you done with Mrs. Thornwald’s body?”

Jeff writes the message and Lisa delivers it. I love the use of the windows, angles, etc. Alfred Hitchcock knew what he was doing. The telephoto lens, binoculars, etc.

Thornwall looks for who left the note but Lisa is faster hiding downstairs.

Stella sees Miss Lonelyhearts taking sedatives and she looks to be taking quite a bit of them. She starts talking about it with Jeff, but they are distracted with Lisa’s return as they watch him pack up the handbag. Jeff starts thinking about the jewelry-he had three rings when he was looking at them. What if it is a wedding ring?

Lisa: The last thing Mrs. Thorwald would leave behind would be her wedding ring. Stella, do you ever leave yours at home?

Stella: The only way somebody would get that would be to chop off my – finger. Let’s go down to the garden and find out what’s buried there.

Lisa: Why not? I always wanted to meet Mrs. Thorwald.

Stella and Lisa want to go digging in the garden, but Jeff is afraid for them. He decides he needs to get Thorwald out and calls him, aw before star69

He calls Thorwald and threatens him, telling him to meet him-blackmail. Thorwald insists he knows not what he is talking about, but the threat of the police sends him going. Jeff watches while the ladies head down. I love that the ladies are the ones investigating, it’s fun take, different from what you usually would see. You know like Oracle and Batman and Robin.

Stella starts digging and Jeff calls Doyle again. He isn’t home but speaks to the baby-sitter. Jeff sees Miss Lonelyhearts writing and thinks Stella was wrong about killing herself, but she could be writing a suicide note. Stella finds nothing in the garden and Lisa takes off to search the house, she climbs the fire escape and sneaks in a window in her full gown and high heels. She digs through the bag, but no jewelry.

Stella goes back to Jeff’s apartment and distracts him from watching for Thorwald as she sees Miss Lonelyhearts and tells Jeff to call the police to get her help, but then the music stops Miss Lonelyhearts from killing herself, but oh no-they forgot about Thornwald, he’s arrived home and Lisa is still in the house she tries to to hide while Jeff calls the police telling them she is being assaulting and for her to get over here ASAP.

That’s not good.

Across the way, Lisa is telling Jeff something, hiding her hand behind her back. Thorwald starts attacking her while Stella and Jeff are at a loss of what to do. Thornwald turn off the lights to do the deed, when the police luckily arrives.

They speak to Lisa while Stella and Jeff are watching.

Lisa points to her fingers, and she has a wedding ring on. Thorwald looks up-he noticed her pointing and realizes that someone must be watching.

OMG so creepy!!!

Creepy…

Jeff tries to scrap some money together to get Lisa out of jail.

Stella: How much do we need to bail Lisa from jail?

Jeff: Well, this is first offense burglary, that’s about $250. I have $127.

Stella: Lisa’s handbag. Uh… 50 cents. I got $20 or so in my purse.

Jeff: And what about the rest?

Stella: When those cops at the station see Lisa, they’ll even contribute.

Doyle calls Jeff back and Jeff tells him that Lisa is in jail. Doyle isn’t listening at first, they had been out, but after hearing about Lisa Doyle’s listening.

Jeff looks up and notices that Thorwald isn’t in his apartment, The phone rings and he thinks it is Doyle but no one answers….his face says it all-Thorwald.

That’s not good.

And Jeff has a broken leg!!!!

And an unlocked door!

Jef turns and waits, aaahhhh I love this and hate this-the waiting, just waiting, waiting. You know he’s coming but when?

Jeff looks around for a weapon but has nothing. He can’t even stand to hide or get something. All he has is his camera and flash cubes.

The room is dark and we see nothing, but hear the foosteps until he charges in, the light on his glasses it is soo creepy.

Here he comes, ahhhh.

Creepy voice.

Creepy…

Jeff does all he can and takes his pictures, stunning Thorwald. Now those old flashcubes are not like today’s flash. Today’s flash hurts but those were way more intense. Thorwald tries to strangle him while the police and everyone is across the street. They hear Jeff scream and Thorwald tries to throw Jeff out the window. He’s hanging on by a thread but thankfully the other neighbors hear and call out, the police running, He falls out the window but the fall is partially broken by the police.

Thorwalds confesses, his wife was dumped in the east river. Stella asks about the garden and it turns out something was buried in the garden but he took it out and put it in a hatbox. What do you think it is? A head? teeth? The saw? The knife?

Hmmm…

So we get to see what happens to the rest of the neighbors. Miss Lonelyhearts got with the composer. The couple who sleeps outside has a new dog. Miss Torso has her love return, a military guy. The newlyweds are arguing as the husband quit his job. And then we see Jeff, who has two broken legs as the result of his adventures.

Lisa is in a shirt and loafers and reading a book, Behind the Himalayas, although after Jeff sleeps-back to Bazaar. Trying to show Jeff she can live in his world.

At the end of the film there is a special thank you to Georgine Darcy? Of course you know where my mind goes, it sounds very similar to Georgiana Darcy.

I looked it up and that’s Miss Torso. I wonder if her parents were Jane Austen fans. Let’s do some research…

I don’t see anything that confirms or denies it. Oh well.

For more Rear Window, go to I Can Keep Up With You: Rear Window (1954)

For more Alfred Hitchcock, go to Last Night I Dreamt I Went to Manderley Again: Rebecca (1940)

For more Jimmy Stewart, go to With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish Heroes

For more Grace Kelly, go to The Perfect Murder: Dial “M” for Murder (1954)

For more Raymond Burr, go to You Don’t Know Which Way to Turn, There’s No Place to Hide, Nowhere to run…: The Blue Gardenia (1953)