the alfred hitchcock blogathon 2017 – wrap-up!

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You know, even though I was busy with Life Stuff throughout this blogathon, I still had lots of fun.  All the posts written were great (for a list of them, go here), very entertaining, and it was a good time of camaraderie among fellow Hitchcock aficionados.  So, as I said last year, unless something unforeseen comes up, another Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon will be held in August of 2018.  Already looking forward to it!

And thank you for your participation, everyone. 🙂

Eva

P.S. There’s still time to submit your entry to the blogathon if you haven’t already.  Just leave a link in the comments and I’ll make sure it gets put on the roster.

my favorite hitchcock heroes, heroines, and villains

This post is part of my Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon 2017.  Check out the other posts in this blogathon here.

Alfred Hitchcock was a master filmmaker – that’s something no one can deny.  His skills as a director merged with great scripts, great actors, and great music to make some of the best films ever.  While there are lots and lots of things I could chose to talk about today, I decided to list a few of my favorite Hitchcock characters.  All of my favorite books and movies have one thing in common – awesome characters – and Hitchcock’s movies are no exception.

Let’s get started!

Favorite Hitchcock Heroes

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-Gilbert Redman (The Lady Vanishes): There are many, many good things about The Lady Vanishes (I can still hum that special tune), but Gilbert is one of the best.  He’s handsome and funny and helpful and brave – everything a good hero should be.

-T.R. Devlin (Notorious): Cary Grant is one of my least favorite actors, but Notorious is one of only two movies where I do more than tolerate him; I actually kinda love him. (The other film is Room for One More.)  Sure, he’s a jerkface for most of the movie, but I think it might be partly because he finds himself falling in love with Alicia, and he thinks nothing good can come of it.  And when he rescues her… *heart-eyes*

-Mitch Brenner (The Birds): Hitchcock favored his villains over his heroes, so it was actually a bit hard for me to come up with a third hero.  I finally settled on Mitch because he’s very capable and level-headed during so much of the terror and *cough* Rod Taylor’s pretty handsome.

Favorite Hitchcock Heroines

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-Iris Henderson (The Lady Vanishes): Hurrah for strong female characters!  Iris is an awesome heroine in her search for Miss Froy and in her general demeanor and strength of character.  One of my favorite female protagonists in classic film.

-Alicia Huberman (Notorious): Alicia is such a brave woman and I admire her, despite her checkered past.  I mean, she even goes so far as to marry Alex Sebastian to gather more information about his evil plots.  Ingrid Bergman is a luminous presence onscreen, and I’ll be talking more about her performance as Alicia later on this month for the Ingrid Bergman blogathon.

-Lisa Fremont (Rear Window): First, Grace Kelly.  Secondly, Edith Head’s gorgeous costumes.  And thirdly (and most importantly), Lisa is the BOSS.  She goes out and does a lot of the fieldwork for Jeff, even going so far as to enter the bad guy’s apartment in the search for the truth.  She’s a wonderful character.

Favorite Hitchcock Villains (here be spoilers)

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-Dr. Murchison (Spellbound): I know Leo G. Carroll best as the kindly Mr. Waverly from The Man From UNCLE TV show, so it’s always a half surprise for me to see him playing such a villainous character.  But Carroll pulls it off and Dr. Murchison is one of the most sinister villains (I think) in the Hitchcock canon.

-Phillip Vandamm (North by Northwest): It’s James Mason, people.  You can’t beat that.  Again, I’m more familiar with his role as a good guy in Journey to the Centre of the Earth, but he makes for a suave, polished, utterly dangerous villain in North by Northwest.  He’s one of my favorite things about the film.

-Bruno Antony (Strangers on a Train): Bruno is a fascinating villain and I think, in some ways, he’s the the prototype for ca-raaaaazy villains like Jim Moriarty or the Joker, even.  He’s just…wow.  Really insane and intense and sort of weird.  Still, he’s a fun baddie to watch.

Who are some of your favorite characters from Hitchcock’s films?

Eva

movie review: the sea hawk

This post is part of the Swashathon hosted by Movies Silently.

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I inherited my love of swashbucklers from my grandfather, who is a huge fan of the genre in general – and of Errol Flynn’s films in particular.  While I don’t care for Errol Flynn much, old-fashioned swashbucklers are a big favorite of mine.  The glamorous action, feats of derring-do, music, romance, and gorgeous costumes all come together beautifully to create a kind of film that can still entertain today. (I know there are swashbucklers made today.  But the old ones were the best, in my opinion.)

On to the review!

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As Spain prepares an armada to invade England, British privateer Geoffrey Thorpe (Errol Flynn) embarks on a mission to loot Spanish ships. When he captures the vessel carrying ambassador Don Jose Alvarez de Cordoba (Claude Rains), the dashing captain falls for his niece, the beautiful Dona Maria (Brenda Marshall), who settles comfortably in England. Dedicated to protecting British interests, Thorpe heads out to sea on a dangerous expedition that may determine the country’s fate.

‘The Sea Hawk’ is easily my favorite Errol Flynn movie…and my favorite swashbuckler.

Stuff I love about it (because lists are easier than an in-depth review):

~The music – Nominated for a best score Oscar, and it definitely deserved that nomination.

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~The romance between Geoffrey and Maria.  Yes, it’s a little clichéd and predictable, but so sweet.  I like how she starts out by hating/despising him but then softens.  Actually, Maria carries most of the romantic subplot by herself, as Geoffrey doesn’t have much time to think about his lady love in the jungle and the galleys.  It’s enough to bring a lump to your throat, the way Maria mourns for him. (That scene where she’s too late to warn him?  GAH.)

~How the jungle scenes are sepia-toned instead of black & white.  I dig it.

~All the other Sea Hawks.  You don’t see much of them, but they’re cool guys.

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~I LOVE THE QUEEN’S FINAL SPEECH SO MUCH.  You have to remember, that in 1940, England was at war with Germany (and had been for a year already), so I’m fairly certain that Queen Elizabeth I’s speech at the end was a good bit of patriotism that any British citizen would have found more than applicable to their current circumstances.

We have tried by all means in our power to avert this war.  We’ve no quarrel with the people of Spain or of any other country.  But when the ruthless ambition of a man threatens to engulf the world, it becomes the solemn obligation of all free men to affirm that the earth belongs not to any one man, but to all men.  And that freedom is the deed and title to the soil on which we exist.

Honestly, the only thing I would change about this movie is to have Basil Rathbone instead of Harry Daniell play Lord Wolfingham .  Basil Rathbone would’ve provided a chilling presence in the English court instead of a rather wimpy one.  Though, I suppose no-one would’ve been surprised at Wolfingham’s duplicity, then.

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The swordfights are awesome, as usual.  I’ve read the Michael Curtiz didn’t put safety tips on the ends of the blades because he wanted the actors’ reactions to be real.  Dangerous, but it made for some great scenes.

‘The Sea Hawk’ is a glowing, adventurous, swoony film, the very epitome of a swashbuckler.  Highly recommended to all fans of the genre.

Eva

announcing the Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon 2017!

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*squeep*

Last year, I said that I’d be hosting another Alfred Hitchcock blogathon, and it looks like it’s time.  Hitchcock’s birthday is August 13th – sorry I didn’t give a more advanced heads-up about this whole thing; I forgot/the time got away from me – and the blogathon will be held from August 11th-13th.  The previous blogathon was lots of fun and I’m hoping that everything will go just as smoothly this year.

To explain things for any newcomers…

A blogathon works like this: if you want to participate, leave a comment with a link to your blog and what you’ll be writing about (review of a Hitchcock film, something about Hitchcock’s life…basically anything, as long as it’s Hitchcock-related).  I’ll add you to this post’s roster (down below the event buttons/posters/whatever you want to call them) and on August 11th, 12th, or 13th, you’ll publish your post and leave a link to it in the comments on a blog post I’ll set up for that purpose.

my 2016 ‘announcing the Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon’ post

As there are lots and lots of topics that could be covered in this blogathon – movie reviews, Hitchcock’s life, the actors/actresses/composers/directors/designers he worked with…and so, so much more! – duplicate topics will not be allowed. (Sorry.  I hate that, too, but we could end up with five reviews of North by Northwest, or something like that.)

Anyway, here are some buttons you can display on your blog’s sidebar, post on Facebook, etc., to promote the upcoming blogathon.

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Blogathon Participants:

~Experience Film – EFC Classics: Vertigo (1958) – a psychoanalysis of the film and its characters

~Cristina Wehner – The Lodger (1927)

~Movie Movie Blog Blog – North by Northwest (1959)

~Phyllis Loves Classic Movies – Thoughts on some of Hitchcock’s British films

~In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood – TBA

~Story Enthusiast – Favorite Hitchcock Films

~Maddy Loves Her Classic Films – The Lady Vanishes (1938)

See you there!

Eva

the 2017 reel infatuation blogathon: glenn ford as ben wade in ‘3:10 to yuma’ (1957)

(A list of the other posts in this blogathon can be found here.)

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‘3:10 to Yuma’ (original, not re-make) was the first Glenn Ford movie I ever watched (besides ‘Is Paris Burning?’, which I watched before I knew who he was).  I can’t be sure, it being so long ago and all, but I believe my attention was more on Van Heflin, who I’d seen and liked in a couple other films (‘Shane’, for one).  It wasn’t until I read Hamlette’s in–depth analysis of ‘3:10 to Yuma’ that I found myself drawn to Glenn Ford’s Ben Wade.  But I didn’t re-watch the film until after I’d seen Blackboard Jungle and fallen head-over-heels for Richard Dadier.  (My crush on him probably had something – though not everything – to do with my liking for Ben Wade, come to think of it.)

Anyway, I watched ‘3:10 to Yuma’ again and thus began my one and only crush on a bad guy, a villain, an outlaw. (Unless you’re counting Robin Hood or Bucky, which I don’t.)  I mean, I’ve had an interest in several villains before (mostly Disney ones, ’cause they can be pretty epic in that twisted for evil way) but I always found it weird and vaguely disturbing when girls would swoon over Loki or Richard Armitage’s Sir Guy.  They’re murderers!  They do evil, nasty things!  (And to be honest, it’s a very fine line, crushing on Ben Wade, because he is a murderer and he did do evil things.  So I try not to be too obsessed.)

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The biggest obstacle to my wholeheartedly crushing on Ben is something that happens in the first few minutes of the film.  Ben and his gang hold up a stagecoach and proceed to steal the money from it.  In the middle of all this, the driver of the stage grabs one of Ben’s men and holds him hostage.  And Ben proceeds to coolly shoot both the driver and his own man, just like that.  I believe the screenwriter(s) did this to establish Ben’s reputation early on in a relatively short movie so that we, the audience, understand why the mere mention of Ben Wade elicits such a strong, fearful response in the ranchers and townspeople.  And we definitely do understand.

Personally, I think that Prince is a way more cruel, cold, and calculating than Ben, but the whole scenario with the driver/Ben’s man getting shot is still quite violent and disturbing.  In some ways, though, I think it’s incongruous to Ben’s charming demeanor throughout so much of the rest of the film.

And Ben is charming.  He really is.  First with Emmy, the saloon girl, and then with Mrs. Evans.  It’s pretty hard not to at least grin during the scene where he eats dinner with the Evans family. (Especially when Dan’s sons go off about how Dan could shoot Ben if he wanted to.  Or the whole thing with saying grace.)  And when he talks with Mrs. Evans, I think that on some level he might be trying to make her feel more at ease around him, trying to let her know that he poses no threat to her family.

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Then, of course, there’s what he says to her after supper…

“I’m obliged for your hospitality.  I appreciate it, and your husband too.  I hope I can send him back to you all right.”

I know it may be silly to think this, but… <33333

That isn’t an idle hope/wish/promise of Ben’s, in my opinion.  Ben means what he says (always, I think).  Even though my brother, Ezra, thinks he’s psychotic, the way he keeps picking away at Dan in the hotel room, talking and talking and talking and trying to bribe him and bringing up Dan’s family, I tend to take an entirely different view of things (surprise, surprise).

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I don’t know when it happened (feel free to share your thoughts about the following in the comments), but I have a theory that eventually, at some point, Ben went from hounding Dan simply because he wanted to escape, to hounding Dan so that Dan could walk out of that hotel room alive (by taking Ben’s bribe).  Like I said, I don’t know when Ben switched his thinking on all that (and I’m guessing it wouldn’t be clear in his mind either), but I believe there was a switch.  And that’s what really counts.

This post wouldn’t be complete without at least some mention of the ending of this film, so… (SPOILERS GALORE)

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Dan and Ben make their way to the train station against all odds, with Ben’s gang shadowing their every move.  It’s a tense, fast-paced scene with plenty of nail-biting moments.  But they get to the station, which is the important thing.  And as the train pulls up, swathing Dan and Ben and the gang in clouds of steam/smoke, Prince yells at Ben to duck so he can get a good shot at Dan.  Only Ben doesn’t.  And at the last minute he and Dan jump on the train and, just like that, they’re gone. (Well, not just like that…the gang runs after them and Dan shoots Prince.  But anyway.)

The last couple minutes of the film are powerful stuff.  The theme song, the glorious rain, the smile on everyone’s faces, and the possibility that maybe, just maybe, Ben can finally turn his life around for good. (Or at least for better.  Because even though redemption is definitely not a theme in ‘3:10 to Yuma’, I could easily see a fanfiction sequel written with just that in mind.)

And, after all, Ben Wade has escaped from Yuma before.

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Eva

the robin hood week tag

As many of you probably know, there’s a Robin Hood blog week going on right now, hosted by Olivia of Meanwhile, in Rivendell….  So far, the event has been lots of fun – fun that, I’m sure, will continue throughout the week.  In honor of the occasion, Olivia has created a great tag, and here are my answers.

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~What was your first exposure to Robin Hood?

That is so difficult to pin-point.  For movies/TV shows, it was either Disney’s animated adaption (#nostalgia), the 1938 version, or a super old black & white TV series.  For books/stories, it could’ve been the Great Illustrated Classics version, the Robin Hood story in my grandma’s Disney anthology (based on the Richard Todd film), or the classic Howard Pyle stories.

~On a scale of 1 to 10, how big a fan are you?

Seven or eight.  Surprisingly enough, I’m not a huge fan of Robin himself (in any adaption/re-telling except Disney’s animated), but there are lots of things about pretty much any version that I love.  Mainly, the other characters and historical coolness and all the different legends.

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~How many versions and spin-offs of the legend have you experienced?

MAN.  Do you know how hard that is to answer?  Let me see…

  • 1938 Errol Flynn movie
  • 1973 Disney animated movie
  • 1952 Richard Todd movie
  • BBC TV series
  • A few episodes of the 1950’s TV show
  • 2012 Tom and Jerry Robin Hood movie (this one is rather awful, but some of the songs are good and Robin Hood is voiced by Jamie Bamber who also plays my dear Archie on Horatio Hornblower, so there are some good points about it)
  • Howard Pyle’s The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
  • Paul Creswick’s The Adventures of Robin Hood: An English Legend
  • Great Illustrated Classics The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (adapted from Howard Pyle)

That’s all I can remember for right now.  I’ve read/seen some versions of Ivanhoe as well, but I don’t remember Robin Hood in any of those.

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~What is your favorite version of Robin Hood (can be book, movie, TV series, anything)?

Robin Hood (1973) with BBC’s modern TV series and Paul Creswick’s novel as second and third favorites.

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~Are you one of the lads? (Meaning, have you watched/are you a fan of the BBC show?)

Of course.

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~Who is your favorite Merry Man?

Depends on what adaption I’m watching. (I don’t really care much in the book versions I’ve read.)  In the 1938 movie it’s Will or Littlejohn.  In the 1973 movie it’s Robin Hood himself.  And in the BBC series, it’s Will in the first two seasons and Allan in the third.

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~Do you have a favorite portrayal of Lady Marian?

Another tough one!  Olivia de Haviland is Maid Marian, in my opinion, but Lucy Griffiths’ portrayal is one of my favorites as well.  And in Disney’s animated film, Marian is such a sweet, gentle lady…it’s very difficult to decide.  I think Olivia de Haviland wins, however.  She is radiantly perfect as Robin’s lady love.

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~Do you have any interest in or aptitude at archery?

No and no.  However…

Isn’t exactly true for me, of course, but the point still stands.

~Fact or fiction — which do you think?

I’m going to go with something along the lines of what my British Literature textbook said: that there were probably a bunch of guys who did similar things to what the legendary Robin Hood did and, sure, there may have been a few songs written about them, but I think it’s mostly just a bunch of stories that sprang from people’s imaginations.

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~Do you think Robin Hood has been “done to death,” or are there still new twists that can be found?

I don’t know how many new twists there are (I do dearly want to watch ‘Robin and the 7 Hoods’, though!) but I’m not tired of the Robin Hood story yet. (There’s tons of adaptions and re-tellings waiting for me to discover anyway.)  And even if every movie and book and and novel followed the same legends every time, there would always be new actors and actresses, new scriptwriters, and new writing styles.  I don’t think the classic stories and characters will ever truly grow old.

Thanks for the tag (and the blog week), Olivia!  I’m lovin’ it. 🙂

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Eva