Patricia outside the Potter Schoolhouse during a 2011 trip to Bodega, Cal.
On the day of Alfred Hitchcock's 116th birthday, two days ago, some top IndieWire critics, including Anne Thompson, Susan Wloszczyna and John Anderson, ranked their 25 favorite Hitchock films. Twenty-five! “Vertigo,” the new darling, was No. 2, while “Notorious” took the top slot. I saw the list via Jeff Wells, who had some mild disagreements, mostly with the highish ranking (13th) of “Marnie,” which both Wells and I think is the lamest of Hitchcock's work. But it's been revived by the New Yorker's Richard Brody. Too bad. But Wells agrees with IndieWire about the new No. 1.
My history of Hitchcock is sketchy, but of the ones I‘ve seen I’d rank them in this order:
- The 39 Steps
- Rear Window
- The Birds
- North by Northwest
- The Lady Vanishes
- Dial M for Murder
- The Wrong Man
There's a great purity and economy in the storytelling of “The 39 Steps,” not to mention wit. It reminds me of what Fitzgerald and Salinger did with the best of their stories. It's also got one of the great steamy scenes of the 1930s.
I need to see more Hitchcock, obviously.