Monday, June 25, 2012

Shadow Of A Doubt

The cities are full of women, middle-aged widows, husbands, dead, husbands who've spent their lives making fortunes, working and working. And then they die and leave their money to their wives, their silly wives. And what do the wives do, these useless women? You see them in the hotels, the best hotels, every day by the thousands, drinking the money, eating the money, losing the money at bridge, playing all day and all night, smelling of money, proud of their jewellery but of nothing else, horrible, faded, fat, greedy women... Are they human or are they fat, wheezing animals, hmm? And what happens to animals when they get too fat and too old? 
Uncle Charlie

Shadow of a Doubt (1942)
It is known that this was Alfred Hitchcock’s favourite film of all of his works, why was this? Was it maybe the difference of knowing the killer straight off the bat? The building suspense that follows? We may never know why it was his favourite, but what we do know is this film was one of his best. A man named Charlie (Joseph Cotton) is at home with his maid, when two policemen come around looking for him. Giving them the slip Charlie escapes to a nearby train station and boards the first train to Santa Rosa. Meanwhile in Santa Rosa a young teenage girl also named Charlie (Teresa Wright) is tired with how boring her life is in her secluded hometown, and complains about this to her parents and wishes for a bit more action in her life. Wanting her Uncle Charlie (Who she is named after) to come to town she sends a telegram to him. Never actually receiving it he shows up at the family’s doorstep that evening. The whole family is overjoyed with Uncle Charlie’s arrival and beg him to stay for some time. Later that night Uncle Charlie is reading the newspaper only to suddenly rip an article out of the paper for no apparent reason. Startled by this; Young Charlie asks him what that was all about, but he brushes her off immediately. She finds Doubt in her mind about her beloved Uncle. Is he really what he says he is? Not long after, is a practically chilling dinner scene in which Uncle Charlie reveals his utter contempt for old widows. Charlie wonders if her uncle could be the one and only infamous marry widow killer? Young Charlie’s Doubt grows in her mind. Not actually enjoying the films straight out plot, I was immensely fascinated with the filming techniques Hitchcock was able to utilise in this thriller. The dinner scene’s intense close ups really puts you in the place of young Charlie, and makes you start to fear Uncle Charlie to the vary end. Even though it has a predictable plot it still manages to keep you interested with these two Charlie's relationship the entire time. An instant Hitchcock classic.


Monday, June 18, 2012

The Thing

"I know I'm human. And if you were all these things, then you'd just attack me right now, so some of you are still human. This thing doesn't want to show itself, it wants to hide inside an imitation. It'll fight if it has to, but it's vulnerable out in the open. If it takes us over, then it has no more enemies, nobody left to kill it. And then it's won." Macready

The Thing (1982)
In 1982 Horror master John Carpenter brought us "The Thing" an intense gore-filled thriller with questions around every turn. So why did this movie flop so much at the cinema back in ‘82? Two letters: E.T. Yes, that little bug eyed creature ruined “the Things” box office. 
During the first five minutes of the film you are just wondering what the heck is going on. A dog is running across the icy plains of Antarctica pursued by two Norwegian men in a helicopter. I, being super confused, think that the dog has just escaped from their camp and they are going after it to return it; but when one of them pulls out a sniper rifle and starts taking pot shots at it, you know something weird is going down here! They then chase the dog all the way into a nearby American science base. The Americans think the Norwegians are attacking them, and proceed to kill the two men and adopt the new dog. Unfortunately for the Americans their new best friend turns out to be an alien that can shapeshift in to whatever organisms it has killed. Carpenter’s filmmaking really freaks you out at this point with shots of a lone dog walking down a hallway. 
Led by Macready (Kurt Russel) the team heads into a blood bath of confusion among the ranks. Who’s who? Am I really human? What’s really great about this film is that it leaves it open so that anybody could be the Thing! Is Macready really who he says he is? Doubt is well placed in your mind in the second half of the film. During the infamous blood test scene you could really feel the tension that this movie oozes! It just makes you think, “What would I do in this situation? Would I be able to take a life on a hunch?” Being one of the remakes that still scares people to this day, this 1982 version of “the Thing” still stands as the best adaptation of the 1938 “Who Goes There?” The film’s ending leaves you with more questions then when you started. This truly is a masterpiece.
Lets just sit here a while… see what happens…