FilmJerk Favorites

A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| Alfred Hitchcock |||
Alfred Hitchcock

This is perhaps an obvious choice, however, most people tend to overlook the Master of Suspense’s early work as well as the relevancy of his last film as a key element in the continuing transition and development of the genre he defined.

One of Hitchcock's early triumphs, this predecessor to the mistaken identity man on the run scenario Hitchcock turned to time and again, stars Robert Donat as the innocent wrongly accused of murder and pursued by both the police and enemy spies. This is the first example of Hitchcock’s mastery over the suspense tale, giving us a glimpse of the greatness to come.

Considered to be one of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest works, this story of two men who meet by chance on a train and frivolously discuss swapping murders is a prime example of a common Hitchcock theme of the man who suddenly finds himself within a nightmare world over which he has no control. You can easily see how this film lays the ground work for the more popular “North by Northwest”.

Alfred Hitchcock's final film is a light-hearted thriller involving phony psychics, kidnappers and organized religion, all of which cross paths in the search for a missing heir and a fortune in jewels. Here, Hitchcock has brilliantly developed his signature form to include the now common, and often overused, device of plot twist, after plot twist, after plot twist. Widescreen!

Recommended by CarrieSpecht

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FREE Classic Cinema at The Skirball!

By CarrieSpecht

December 11th, 2006

The Skirball Cultural Center Presents a free screening of the classic romantic comedy, “Pillow Talk” on Tuesday, December 12th at 1:30 p.m. This holiday season take some time out to enjoy a silly romantic comedy on the big screen. For Free!

FREE Classic Cinema at The Skirball!

If you’ve never seen a Rock Hudson/Doris Day film you’ve been denying yourself a gleeful pleasure, and if you have you won’t want to miss the opportunity of seeing it on a big screen. Pure sugar and silliness, “Pillow Talk” is the Rock Hudson/Doris Day bedroom farce that similar films of the era wish they could be, and others spoof (such as the 2003 Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor kitschy “Down with Love”).

Fifties sex icon Rock Hudson was at the height of his popularity when he first played opposite the ever-popular and professional virgin Doris Day. Here, Hudson plays Brad Allen, a nefarious playboy (a role he always played to over-the-top perfection) who is inadvertently forced to share a “party line” (a telephone convention of days gone by) with a straight-laced interior designer played to sweet perfection by Day. Although the two are stylish metropolitans of the late fifties, they couldn’t be more different and, of course, in the fantasy world of cinema, opposites always attract. Over the wire, the two start out fighting, but once Hudson gets an eyeful of his verbal sparing partner, he is instantly smitten and automatically on the prowl.

With Tony Randall playing Hudson’s best friend and Day’s enamored client, and Day clueless to Hudson’s pretense of being a socially inept nerd, complications naturally ensue. But with a well-crafted script (it did receive the Academy Award after all), the twists and turns are skillfully manipulated with an emphasis on clever humor and high comedy. “Pillow Talk” is more than a mindless sex comedy; it’s a whimsical ode to romance in the burgeoning age of feminism that will make you swoon and laugh at the same time. You’ll even have a little insight into the difficulties that a modern working gal (and I mean that in the nicest sense) has in coming to terms with her own sexuality in the days before the sexual revolution. In the role of the modern emancipated woman, Day is the perfect personification of one of the world’s most frustrating oxymorons: the girl next door who’s as sexy in her “niceness” as any prancing playboy bunny.

This premier example of the “bedroom comedy” received an Academy Award for Best Screenplay and was nominated for many other awards, including a Golden Globe nomination for the ever-entertaining Tony Randall, a Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination for the great veteran character actress, Thelma Ritter, and Doris Day herself was considered for Best Actress.

Plan ahead and make a day of it. You can have lunch at the center’s restaurant, Zeidler's, before the film, shop for holiday gifts at Audrey's Museum Store, and view the many exhibitions. No reservations are necessary. For details or schedule changes call (310) 440-4500. The Skirball Cultural Center is located at 2701 North Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049, and you can check out their website at www.skirball.org.