Fun Fridays – Director’s Favourite FIlms – We Love Hitch

Hello, Film Doctor Friends.

Once again, the curtain slowly falls on another working week and the time for another Fun Fridays comes along. Since today marks the release of Sacha Gervasi‘s new film, Hitchcock, this week’s Film Doctor’s Fun Friday also turns to the great Master of Suspense for some cinematic inspiration.


The list is a bit different than the usual Fun Fridays Director’s Favourite Films – but then again, this is Hitch we’re talking about…


Firstly, there is a list of books, which lay at the heart of some of Hitchcock’s most prominent films:

  • “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier – While Alfred Hitchcock’s film based upon her novel proceeded to make her one of the best-known authors in the world, she enjoyed the life of a fairy princess in a mansion in Cornwall called Menabilly, which served as the model for Manderley in Rebecca.
  • “The Birds”  by Daphne du Maurier – The idea for this famous story came to du Maurier one day when she was walking across to Menabilly Barton farm from the house. She saw a farmer busily ploughing a field whilst above him the seagulls were diving. She developed an idea about the birds becoming hostile and attacking him. In her story, the birds become hostile after a harsh winter and eventually turn against mankind. The nightmarish vision appealed to Hitchcock who turned it into the celebrated film.
  • “Rear Window” by Cornell Woolrich – Woolrich is regarded as one of the finest 20th century authors of pure suspense fiction. 
  • “Strangers on a Train” by Patricia Highsmith –  The novel that launched Highsmiths’s prolific career of noir fiction, has been adapted for the screen three times, most notably by Hitchcock in 1951.
    • “Psycho” by Robert Bloch – In November 1957 — two years before Psycho was first published — Ed Gein was arrested in his hometown of Plainfield, Wisconsin for the murders of two women. When police searched his home, they found furniture, silverware, and even clothing made of human skin and body parts. Psychiatrists examining him theorized that he was trying to make a “woman suit” to wear so he could pretend to be his dead mother, whom neighbors described as domineering. At the time of Gein’s arrest, Bloch was living in the neighbouring town of Weyauwega. Familiar with the Gein case but not the specific details, Bloch began writing with “the notion that the man next door may be a monster unsuspected even in the gossip-ridden microcosm of small-town life.” Bloch was surprised years later when he “discovered how closely the imaginary character I’d created resembled the real Ed Gein both in overt act and apparent motivation”.



Then, there’s also an alleged list of cinematic references and inspirations – alleged, because Hitchcock never really declared any movies as ‘officially favourite’:

  • F.W. MURNAU for his purely visual storytelling approach
  • LUIS BUNUEL – Hitch’s penchant for dream sequences came from surrealism, particularly Bunuel’s 1928 Un Chien Andalou. Interstingly, the other collaborator on Un Chien Andalou, Salvador Dali deisgned the dream sequence for Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1945). It was originally supposed to run slightly longer, including a scene in a ballroom with hanging pianos and still figures pretending to dance. It was cut from the final film due to lack of time to appropriately build the set to scale (little people were used in the background to give the illusion of perception, which did not satisfy Hitchcock or Dali). Only part of it was filmed, and even less of it ended up in the release version
  • HENRI-GEORGES CLOUZOT – reportedly envious of Clouzot’s 1955 thriller, Diabolique, Hitchcock fashioned Psycho (1960) as a similarly bleak black-and-white film.


And, of course, Hitchock himself is on the list of many other directors in their Fun Fridays Director’s Fave Films – Michael Haneke, Pedro Almodovar, Kathryn Bigelow, Joe Dante.


Film Doctor - Hitchcock, official movie poster

Hitchcock is out in UK cinemas nationwide today.

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The Film Doctor Team
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