Alfred Hitchcock

REVIEW: ‘Hitchcock’ is for the Birds

You won’t find many films about film directors because, let’s face it, we’re not exactly savory characters, certainly not everyman heroes on whom you can pin your hopes and aspirations.  On the contrary: at best we’re quirky, petty despots who are deluded into thinking that what we do has more value than it really does by the underlings over whom we are despotic, until we fuck up and get flushed by the system.

Alfred Hitchcock was a particularly unsavory character, and therefore a real challenge to bring to the screen as a central character.  He was obese, obsessive, perverted, creepy, alcoholic, ugly, gluttonous, insecure and sadistic—oh, yes, and somewhat comical, but with a list of adjectives like those clattering behind you as if they were cans attached to a newlyweds’ car departing a wedding designed by Tim Burton, you’d better have a sense of humor.

Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock

Looks more like my step-father. Uncanny.

I like Hitchcock. I think he was a stylish, accomplished director.  He might even have been great, at least for people whose tastes are more inclined towards Tales From the Crypt and crime stories than mine are.  I emphatically do not agree with the British Film Institute that Vertigo is the best film of all time.  It’s not the BFI’s fault, of course; they were only polling film critics, or whatever the cinema studies geeks from film school turned into professionally.  I find Vertigo to be whacky and dull and overly long—harsh as it sounds, it deserved to be the box-office flop that it was.  And it certainly doesn’t deserve canonization now, just because our tastes have changed from Big Themes like those behind Citizen Kane to the more macro examination of the individual as a universe unto himself.

Sir Samuel L. Jackson, Ass Kicker


by Eric J Baker

Since the posting of last week’s Baker Street column, in which I pointed out that the English are the worst bunch of people on the planet and that William Shakespeare wore clown shoes, I have been inundated with hate mail and threats from across the Atlantic. While it’s true I said England has contributed nothing of value to humankind other than some good pop music, can’t the English be happy that I said they have some good pop music?

I’ve been called a git, a wanker, a prat, a nancy, a wally, a tosser, a twat, and a knob by my parents since I was born, which has made me overly sensitive to criticism. Fortunately, the English are noted for being polite, so their hate mail usually starts with a compliment like, “I say, chap, bloody good show giving us what-for last week,” before moving on to point out the inadequacies in my story.

For example, I apparently neglected to give credit to England for producing some noteworthy film actors over the years. Sir Laurence Olivier was mentioned, as was Sir Ralph Richardson. Dame Judi Dench. Sir Mick Jagger, for his role in Freejack (1992). Dame Kate Beckinsale, whom I just knighted myself so we can pretty up the images around here.

It's not too late to stop Prince William from marrying the wrong Kate, or at the very least knocking the other one out in the vestibule at Westiminster Abbey, slipping Beckinsdale into her dress, hiding her under a veil until it's too late ...

Speaking of girls from England called Kate, Ms. Middleton seems to have won approval from my female friends (which are legion, as you suspected).