There are many films that fit this theme and yet, I felt like I wanted to find films similar to Gaslight which is a brilliant film but one I have picked more than once. I think I was overthinking this theme to be honest so I just went with it and once again, chose 2 Hitchcock films because Hitchcock is brilliant. I will be interested what everyone else will choose over at Wandering Through The Shelves so best head over there and see what everyone else has chosen. Here are my 3...
I really fell in lust for Lawrence Olivier when I saw this film( watching Wuthering Heights cinched the deal) playing the brooding Maxim De Winter who meets a mousy gal, played by Joan Fontaine, and marries her and whisks her back to his home of Manderley. This home is one I would have loved to have lived in, if it actually existed, with its huge fireplaces and is full of Gothic drama. Here, the young wife meets the staff including Mrs. Danvers who is the head housekeeper of the place and still drools over the late Rebecca, Maxim’s dead wife. Quickly, mousy Joan seems to be doing everything wrong and feels she is slowly going insane with Mrs. Danvers helping her to that ledge of insanity. Good ole Max doesn’t help things at all and is actually a bit of a dick becoming moody and nasty to his wife. This is a very atmospheric, gothic thriller with Dame Judith Anderson stealing the picture as lesbo Mrs. Danvers. You know there was more going on between Rebecca and Mrs. Danvers(or it could have been one-sided) even though the Hays Office didn’t want any reference to an affair between Danvers and Rebecca. This just shows how great Miss. Anderson is in her acting to infer this.
2. SHADOW OF A DOUBT-1943
I love this film and it is one of my favourite Hitchcock films starring Joseph Cotton as a serial killer who must leave the city since the cops are close to catching him. He decides to go visit his sister and her family. The sister is so happy to have her younger brother with her and her daughter, played by Teresa Wright, is ecstatic to see her Uncle Charlie whom she loves but soon she starts seeing cracks in his white armour. When a police detective comes calling and informs her of what they suspect, she, at first doesn’t believe it, but soon changes her mind. Soon, it becomes a cat and mouse game Charlie against Charlie and the rest of the family are completely unaware of what is going on. Well acted and tense, the film gives an early insight into the mind of a serial killer before that term was coined.
3. THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE-1946
This is another one of my favourite films that starts off with the murder of a disabled young woman and the town is reeling from it. We see a young, pretty woman getting back to a large home where she is the companion to a bedridden old lady who is disagreeable with most everyone else. The one problem this girl has is she can’t talk due to some mental trauma from years back. In the home we meet the cook who likes to have a few drinks, a very pretty young lady who is the secretary to the head of the household, played by George Brent. He is kindly and takes care of the home and his mom. In comes the jerk brother who has been away from the town and the house for quite a while and proceeds to play havoc with his older brother. We also meet the kindly doctor who has his heart go pitter patter for the mute girl. Of course, a storm is approaching and everyone must batten down the hatches but not before realizing the killer is somewhere in their home. The one the killer sets his sights on is the mute girl because he sees her without a mouth. Atmospheric, with a few twists and turns, it’s quite a good thriller that makes you think twice who it might be. It is a real gem of a film.
So which 3 films would you choose?
Tomorrow afternoon, I am going for my Astra Zeneca shot and hope I don’t feel sick after. Wish me luck!
Good luck with your shot. I had a low day yesterday after my second Moderna. I've seen Rebecca but not the others. They look like interesting films.ReplyDelete
I hope I am not ill but others, I know, have been so keeping fingers crossed. The other films are gemsDelete
Now you're talkin', dear friend! I love psycho thrillers and have seen all three of these mid 20th century B&W pictures, two of them directed by the master of mystery and suspense Alfred Hitchcock. I'm pretty sure I studied all three in my college film course.
Shucks, I don't know why you fell in lust with Larry O, dear friend. Why settle for living with him in Manderley, his large country estate in Cornwall, when you can “Come weez me to zee Casbah”? I admired actress Joan Fontaine, and our creepy friend George Sanders also has a prominent role in the film. I read the following about Dame Judith Anderson's character on IMDB: << Mrs. Danvers is hardly ever seen walking, she seems to glide. Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted her to be seen solely from Joan Fontaine's character's anxious point of view, and this effect tied in with her fear about Mrs. Danvers appearing anytime unexpectedly. >>
The beautiful, luminous, smart and soulful Teresa Wright became one of my favorite actresses the first time I saw Shadow Of A Doubt. I have watched it several times since and never tire of it. Joseph Cotten is a great villain playing the seemingly benign Uncle Charlie who is actually a killer of wealthy dowagers.
The Spiral Staircase stars another of my favorites, Dorothy McGuire, who first made an impression on me in Old Yeller. In this suspense thriller the house itself is one of the principal players. IMDB sez: << A shadowy serial killer is targeting women with "afflictions"; one night during a thunderstorm the mute Helen feels menaced. >> Lady get out of the house!
The mute woman in peril immediately reminded me of the 1967 genre film Wait Until Dark that stars Audrey Hepburn as a young blind woman tormented and threatened by dangerous criminals played by Alan Arkin, Dick Crenna and Jack Weston. Do you remember Jack Weston starring in the 1961-62 sitcom The Hathaways along with Peggy Cass? They played a couple that adopted a trio of chimpanzees (the Marquis Chimps)? I watched that series!
Great picks, BB. I love Gothic, atmospheric movies like these. Enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend!
I had a feeling you saw all of these and they are great. How I love George Sanders in Rebecca and Mrs. Danvers almost seems like an evil ghost. Teresa Wright was, what I call, an intelligent actress who is not known too much today which is a shame. Joseph Cotton is another of my favourite actors who could play heroes and villains equally. The house in The Spiral Staircase is a major player just like Manderley and I love both homes. Wait Until Dark is a great movie and Audrey was perfect in the role. I never saw that tv show but I want to look it up now.Delete
Pretty sure I've seen the Hitchcock film.ReplyDelete
Memento and Silence of the Lambs come to mind.
I chose 2 Hitchcock films so wondering which one you may have seen. Memento is a classic! Silence is so creepy and Hopkins was so good in it that you don't realize he is in the film for less than 20 minutes.Delete
I'm not overly fond of Rebecca to be honest. It's a good film, Judith Anderson rocks, Olivier is near the peak of his attractiveness (Wuthering Heights is his peak) and Joan Fontaine gets all she can out of I but to me it never lands as well as many other Hitch films. But the mind games it presents are complex.
Shadow of a Doubt is one that grew on me over the years. Both Joe Cotton and Teresa Wright are great and the situation very tense but I think it's one of those films that require more than one viewing to discover its intricacies.
LOVE The Spiral Staircase!! I remember watching it when I was a kid, during a thunderstorm...how apt! It scared the bejesus out of me! Everybody is wonderful but honors go to Ethel Barrymore and especially Dorothy McGuire. I still feel a sense of dread when I watch it now.
This week theme is broad unlike last week so I jumped a bit on the crazy train for my three.
The Baby (1973)-Recently widowed social worker Ann Gentry (Anjanette Comer) is given the case of the Wadsworth family: raspy-voiced Mrs. Wadsworth (Ruth Roman in a wonderfully complex performance), her two very strange adult daughters Alba and Germaine (Suzanne Zenor & Mariana Hill), and her 21-year-old son Baby (David Mooney) whom they have kept infantilized to the point that he still lives in a crib and diapers. Discovering that Baby’s condition isn’t physiological but rather a result of abuse and neglect Ann tries to intercede, but Mrs. Wadsworth is having none of it. Thus begins a battle that escalates to extremes as Mrs. Wadsworth fights to keep control and Ann insists that she’s only interested in Baby’s best interests…. but is she?
Shock Corridor (1963)-In pursuit of a Pulitzer Prize ambitious reporter Johnny Barrett (Peter Breck) feigns madness and has himself committed to an insane asylum to investigate and solve a recent murder sure it will win him the award. But once inside the rigors and horrors of confinement lead him to slowly lose his grip on reality. Lurid by necessity but director Sam Fuller keeps a firm hand preventing the film from slipping into exploitation.
Shutter Island (2010)-In the 50’s two Federal Marshals, Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), enter the peculiar dream like world of Ashecliffe Hospital, an insane asylum located on the remote, windswept Shutter Island, to investigate an apparent escape from the seemingly impenetrable skerry. As a hurricane engulfs the madhouse the men and in particular Teddy begin to question all they know as both their safety and sanity are imperiled. Top-flight Scorsese.
Good luck with your jab!! I'm also getting my second Pfizer shot tomorrow morning and have my fingers crossed for no reaction...though I've had one to every flu shot I've ever received so I've cleared my schedule just in case!
see below, Joel for my response...I thought I hit the right button but, obviously, didn'tDelete
There have been other Rebeccas, but none as good as this one. I’ve read the book several times and always have a different reaction to it which I think is a good thing.ReplyDelete
I should read the book again because i read it when I was still in Grade school which is a long time ago. I remember liking it.Delete
Hi Joel! I was stretching it last week and just choosing 3 movies I saw with female cinematographers but this week I was wondering which films to choose. Rebecca, you are right, is not one of Hitchcock's strongest films even though Joan won an Oscar for her role. Judith Anderson is at her creepy best that's for sure. I have loved Shadow from the start because it is so unique and Cotton is superb as a serial killer. The Spiral Staircase is another I had seen many years ago and fell in love with its unique presence. I must have a thing for serial killer movies.ReplyDelete
I have not seen your first 2 films but I know about them and have wanted to see them. Interesting that Ruth Roman plays in the first film as I know her best as the sweet fiancee to Stewart Granger in Strangers On A Train(another all time favourite of mine). I love Shutter island which is perfect here and I didn't think about it. It is very well done and without gangsters and the F bomb every 2 seconds. I would rather have the Pfizer shot but..oh well.
I love Ruth Roman! She's one of my very favorites and woefully underknown. I like her in Strangers on a Train but it is a bit of an anomaly in her filmography, she was usually cast as a tougher broad which suited her personality. I think she was at a bit of a disadvantage since her decade of major activity was focused more on the flowery, dutiful wife rather than the more aggressive take charge dame that she excelled at. She would have been bigger in the 30's or 40's I think.Delete
I haven't seen any off your picks although by the sounds of it that Joseph Cotton character (speaking in video?) strikes me as a nut job. Its always the quiet ones you don't know like John Doe in Seven. London has fallen was good but Mike Banning's defensive attack and hack killer jabs weren't up to speed on John Wick.ReplyDelete
This is a great genre--a favorite for my wife and I. I've seen your first 2 picks and they are good ones. Now to use my brain to recollect.ReplyDelete
Firstly I think of Repulsion by Roman Polanski. That one is all about psychological stuff. One of my favorite films.
Vertigo of course, but Hitchcock has so many from which to choose.
Another favorite of mine is Mulholland Drive by David Lynch. That film is such a crazy weird mindbender.
Tossing It Out
By the way, my wife and I got our second doses of Moderna last week with no after effects other than a sore arm for a few days. Now I have my COVID "passport" card so we can take our road trip this year. Hopefully I won't be expected to keep wearing a ridiculous mask much longer. The other day I saw a few defiant people going to the supermarket without masks without being challenged while I was observing them. Hope people start coming to their senses about the masks. There is no logic to them. But that's my opinion based on logic.ReplyDelete
Rebecca is a really popular pick this week! I really need to watch these films!ReplyDelete
Check out my Thursday Movie Picks!
Ronyell @ The Surreal Movies and TV Blog
All good choices. Body Heat and Wait Until Dark also come to mind.ReplyDelete
I slept for a day and a half after my second Moderna shot. Better than my second son who passed out at work after his first one. Called EMS and then later in the day he had to go to ER. The doc said he wasn't staying hydrated enough. He managed the second shot much better. Good luck.
Oh man I'm 0/3 this week. I meant to watch Rebecca when that awful looking remake came out, but I haven't gotten to it yet. It looks far superior.ReplyDelete
Good luck with your jab. I bet you won't have any issues at all.ReplyDelete
Have you seen the most recent version of Rebecca on Netflix? Each version seems to bring out different elements of the story.
I haven't even heard of any of these. I sure enjoyed reading about them, though.ReplyDelete
I thought Rebecca was okay as it could have been more tense but I loved the atmosphere and the acting was really good too.ReplyDelete
Hi Birgit, have seen all three films and love them. I watched Rebecca only last week, great choices, Kate xReplyDelete
Rebecca-definitely a gothic classic.ReplyDelete
Have a wondrous, pain free weekend.
I heartily approve of your first two choices, but I've never seen The Spiral Staircase. My first two choices are Hitchcock: Rope and Dial M For Murder. My third choice was directed by Anatole Litvak: Sorry, Wrong Number.ReplyDelete
As always, great choices Birgit! Rebecca is one of my favourite stories (I took part in an outdoor production of it by my local theatre company!) but so far I have only seen the recent version with Lily James. I need to take a look at the 1940 version.ReplyDelete
I've seen your first two picks and really liked them both! In fact, I just finished reading the book Rebecca is based on last week, which I can also wholeheartedly recommend.ReplyDelete
I've only seen Rebecca from your picks but I'm really intrigued by your other two. I like Joseph Cotten so I should definitely check out SHADOW OF A DOUBT. I went w/ more contemporary movies + 'almost' a theme-within-a-theme this week.ReplyDelete
Shadow of a Doubt sounds chilling but good.ReplyDelete
Hope your day is wondrous.
Take special care.
Love your posts. Keep on sharing!ReplyDelete