Lake Oconee Breeze

On the Screen

December 20, 2012

"Hitchcock" and "The Girl" chronicle a powerful life

LAKE OCONEE — “Hitchcock”

Rated PG-13 (for some violent images, sexual content and thematic material).

I wanted to see “The Hobbit,” but my Cinema Concubine generously pointed out that she is more than a little acquainted with the antics of one particular Hobbit---on a daily basis as a matter of fact---and preferred to have the night off and see “Hitchcock.”

Naturally, Hitch got the honor of our presence.

“Hitchcock” centers on the great film director's making of “Psycho.” At this point in his life, Mr. Hitchcock (played by Anthony Hopkins), was being accused of losing his touch, after a few missteps like “Vertigo.”

So The Master reads Robert Bloch's book “Psycho” and obsesses about making the first Hitchcock horror film against everybody's advice; even to the point that he mortgages his own house to pay for it since fair-weather partners, Paramount Pictures, refuses to back it.

The plot gives half of its time to making “Psycho” and Hitchcock's obsession with his blonde star Janet Leigh (played by Scarlet Johansson), while the other half of the film is a rather odd, but intriguing, subplot of Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville (Helen Mirren), being distracted (this is pure speculative) by a screenwriter's flirtations. Like so many long-married couples, they bicker frequently and past “hurts,” pitched back and forth, slice each other like pale imitations of Norman Bates' knife during the shower scene in “Psycho.”

It should be noted that Alma Reville was key to Hitchcock's success and her character is central to any telling of the Hitchcock saga.

Sir Anthony does a fascinating job of playing Mr. Hitchcock. Alas, it is nothing like Daniel Day-Lewis' brilliant “possession” of Lincoln in “Lincoln” because Mr. Day-Lewis was invisible with his character while Sir Anthony is clearly there with an impish wink and a nod as Mr. Hitchcock.

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