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Hitchcock presented 

Juicy making-of details from the 7 O'Clock Hitchcock screenings, showing Mondays through March at the alfreSnow filmFesto.

click to enlarge Grace Kelly! Anthony Dawson is RIGHT BEHIND YOU.
  • Grace Kelly! Anthony Dawson is RIGHT BEHIND YOU.

Rope (1948)

Plot: Two university grads kill a classmate to impress their professor (James Stewart), who once theorized in a lecture about how to commit the perfect murder.

Did you know? This was the first Hitchcock film shot in colour, but what's impressive about Rope is that it was filmed continuously in just 10 shots. The filming took place on a single set, with props and walls of the stage being mounted on wheels so that areas of the set could be pulled away, allowing the camera to move uninterrupted.

This caused a few accidents: Once the camera dolly ran over and broke a crew member's foot. Workers gagged his mouth and dragged him off set so he wouldn't interrupt the shot. The shot made it into the film.

Strangers on a Train (1951)

Plot: A tennis player climbing the amateur ranks meets a stranger on a train who hatches a plan for them to commit murder for one another.

Did you know? Hitchcock purchased the screen rights for Strangers on a Train anonymously to drive down costs in pre-production. But things didn't work out exactly as he planned, with the scriptwriting duties being passed through multiple writers, including The Grapes of Wrath author John Steinbeck and Double Indemnity screenwriter Raymond Chandler.

The script was finally re-worked by Czenzi Ormonde, who, although writing the majority of the screenplay, was absent from the main credits, as Warner Brothers chose to replace her name with Chandler's to draw a larger audience.

I Confess (1953)

Plot: Montgomery Clift plays Father Michael Logan, a priest who becomes a murder suspect when a past romance implicates him as having the strongest motive.

Did you know? The majority of the film was shot in Quebec City, with only a few interior scenes filmed in Hollywood.

I Confess is considered to be one of the weaker offerings in Hitchcock's catalogue, partly due to the on-set tension between Clift and the director, who couldn't cope with Clift's method acting. (Hitchcock would later have a similar problem with Paul Newman in Torn Curtain).

The film retains a cult following with a fan in director Guillermo Del Toro---who considers it one of his favourite Hitchcock films---citing the film's religious tension as speaking directly to the "fat, guilt-ridden Catholic" in him.

Dial M for Murder (1954)

Plot: This guy must have had a thing for tennis players---Ray Milland plays Tony Wendice, a tennis star who has retired from the professional circuit to spend more time with his wife. Upon discovering she is having an affair with an American crime novelist, he blackmails an old university friend into murdering her.

Did you know? Cary Grant was originally set to play the role of Tony Wendice, but studio executives axed the idea, feeling the audience wouldn't find Grant believable as a husband who plans the murder of his wife. (Ironically, a character in Rope mentions that Grant played the perfect villain in another Hitchcock thriller, Notorious.)

As in all of Hitchcock films, the director makes a cameo---13 minutes into the film you can see him sitting in a photograph in the Wendice's living room.

alfreSnow filmFesto, Neptune Studio Theatre, 1593 Argyle Street, $8 Suggested donation, 7pm
March 5, Dial M for Murder
March 12, Rope
March 19, I Confess
March 26, Strangers on a Train


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