Hitchcock Blu-ray Review
Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO is one of my all-time favorite films. So it is with great joy that the film HITCHCOCK is about one of my favorite directors (REAR WINDOW, VERTIGO, ROPE) making one of my favorite films. Perhaps the film is geared more toward others like me, but HITCHCOCK is a delightful “rear window” (yeah I just did that) into the lives of Alfred and his wife and work partner Alma Revile during the making of possibly the gutsiest picture of all time in PSYCHO.
Mr. Hitchcock had just finished the very successful NORTH BY NORTHWEST in 1959 and wanted to try something a little different and fun. After reading the book “Psycho” by Stephen Rebello, he immediately bought up every possible copy to insure his ending would be kept a secret. At that time in Hollywood, the idea of such a prestigious director making a slasher film where the leading lady is murdered half way through the picture, was considered quite insane. Between the studio hesitating to fund such a project and the MPAA ratings committee not allowing such minute details as a toilet being shown on screen, Alfred had his work cut out for him.
When it comes to casting and cutting the film, Hitchcock relied heavily on his spouse and partner Alma Reville, played by the oh so talented Helen Mirren. Alma always supported her husband’s work not simply out of faithfulness but also because she believed in him; at times was even the inspiration or voice behind many of his good ideas. HITCHCOCK does a nice job shifting the focus more about these two individual characters and their relationship together. I think the one thing most people will come away with is just how influential and impressive Alma Reville was to the overall success of Alfred Hitchcock. Part of the fun is seeing some of the fantastic actors of the time performed by current day stars, like Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, Jessica Biel as Vera Miles, James D’Arcy as Anthony Perkins and even THE KARATE KID’s Ralph Macchio as screenwriter Joseph Stefano. They do a great job and are just a few people who are part of the overall inspired casting in HITCHCOCK.
If you haven’t seen PSYCHO, watch it now. After familiarizing yourself with the director a little more, I think one will easily enjoy the self referential and tributes that HITCHCOCK refers to. The not-so-subtle attempts at the director mimicking his films are funny and entertaining. Anthony Hopkins gives the perfect blend of accuracy and parody. He looks and plays the part with wry humor but with respectable believability to the overall tone of what the peculiar director may have been like.
HITCHCOCK is more of a speculation film rather than a historic accuracy. The film goes for light-hearted laughs rather than hard truth. It is a real shame the film came out in the height of all the Oscar films. While the film was nominated for an Oscar in makeup, HITCHCOCK is by no means an award winning film. But it does accomplish its goal as a very well-executed, enjoyable little flick that I believe was marketed all wrong. Light and fun are two key words that come to mind and for anyone who is a fan of PSYCHO and the director, HITCHCOCK is a must see.
Video: (MPEG-4 AVC, 1080p 2.40:1) A beautiful looking picture. Clean and colorful with great cinematography.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The sound is top notch with clear dialogue and terrific mixing.
Audio Commentary with Sacha Gervasi and Stephen Rebello: The director and author seem to have a pretty chummy relationship as they casually talk about all the ins and outs of making HITCHCOCK. They have a very relaxed and informative presentation with a handful of interesting tidbits to make this worth listening to if you’re a fan.
Deleted Scene (1:41): Very unnecessary clip of Hitchcock talking to a shrink who is Ed Gein.
Becoming the Master: From Hopkins to Hitchcock (12:28): This follows the makeup process of Anthony Hopkins transforming into Alfred Hitchcock, keeping in mind they did not want an exact look but more of the spirit of Hitchcock with Hopkins recognizable.
Obsessed with Hitchcock (29:09): This is easily the best featurette covering the entire making of process. If you watch one feature, watch this one as it give the most interesting and in depth insight into the picture.
Sacha Gervasi’s Behind-the-Scenes Cell Phone Footage (13:31): A bit long, considering the footage is shown on a small vertical screen from a phone and is just more behind the scenes of the already behind the scenes footage.
Hitchcock Cell Phone PSA (:41): A funny “Don’t use your phone’s in the the theater” PSA from Hitchcock.
The Story (3:54): A brief fluff piece about the story using footage from the film.
The Cast (4:25): A brief fluff piece about the actors with a few interviews.
Danny Elfman Maestro (2:16): A brief glimpse into the studio where Elfman created the score.
Hitch and Alma (3:15): A short summary of the husband and wife relationship.
Remembering Hitchcock (4:44): This is kind of neat as a few of Hitchock’s former cast and crew members discuss working with him and their thoughts about the film.