Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hitchcock: The Movie

Anthony Hopkins does not merely play the famed director, Alfred Hitchcock, in the new movie, "Hitchcock," he literally seems to inhabit his body.  Because the movie is about the filming of the horror movie, "Psycho," which shows a man taking on the personna of his dead mother, that seems particularly appropriate. 

The movie is both a technical exploration of the making of Psycho and also a love story of a sort, between Hitchcock and his long-suffering wife, Alma Reville.  As most people probably know by now, Hitchcock was obsessed with his blond leading ladies such as Grace Kelly and Tippi Hedren.  Although it is believed that these were strictly fantasies on the part of Hitchcock, the movie shows that his obsession had a lasting effect on his relationship with his wife. Helen Mirren portrays Alma with her usual strength of character and shows that Alma, in her own way, was as impportant figure as her noted husband in the success of his movies.

The movie gives Alma quite a bit credit for the success of "Psycho", suggesting she was responsible for the terror of the famous shower scene involving the stabbing of the main character very early on in the movie. There is now some controversy over just how large a role she the changes that made that scene so memorable as the movie downplays the work of the screenplay's author.

 Psycho starred Janet Leigh and in this movie she is played by Scarlett Johansson as a rather sweet, family-oriented woman who was amused by Hitchcock. Jessica Biel has a rather small role as the actress Vera Miles, who also appeared in "Psycho".

Hopkins' portrayal of Hitchcock is clearly Oscar worthy.  Wearing all sorts of prosthetics on his face and presumably on the rest of his large and imposing stomach, he is totally believable as the tortured genius. Anyone who has heard Hitchcock's voice on the reruns of his famous television show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, will recognize how closely Hopkins has captured that unmistakable diction and accent.

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