a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Sir Alfred Hitchcock’

Some Lights Go Back on, but the subways STILL are not all back.

Life in NYC post-Sandy is symbolized to me by that dangling, dislodged crane over W.57th St. It seems like everything here is dangling by a thread now. Nothing is certain anymore. You keep waiting for the next shoe, or crane, to drop. And there’s another storm coming this week!

The buses and subways are now back to charging fares. They are no longer free. I found that out the hard way when I went to return some items to the library today. Ouch! They should keep it free until ALLLLL of the subways are back! And a lot are not.

I would say it’s like 3/5s there. Lower Manhattan is still a frightening dead zone, though lights have come back on. But not the subways. Buses go down there at night, I understand, but I wouldn’t venture there. New York like this is scary enough in the daytime, nevermind at night.

But you do go stir crazy if you stay in too much. But going out with the weather turning colder than its’ been in a long time in NY,(we barely had a winter last year), if you’re not bundled up like an Eskimo, the chill winds can kill you.

Today the temperature kept dropping, and I had to go out, and go to the library cross town, as I said, then back uptown to the TV station to drop off this week’s “Stephen Holt Show” and that’s a long, cold walk, let me tell you.

And with W.57th STILL a danger zone, buses were being re-routed over to 9th Ave. from Fifth and Sixth and 7th…well, you get the picture.

Then they continue on back on their regular routes once they get past The Dangling Crane.
And who do I meet on the bus going back home, after dark, from the TV station? Well, one of my favorite British character actresses of all time Miriam Margoyles!

She was a particular favorite of mine from the many,many film and TV roles I saw here in when I lived in London in the 70s and now that I live here, I kept following her work.

She’s in town she told me “safe and warm on the Upper West Side” to do a two performance only stint of her one-woman show “Dickens Women” at the Morgan Library. It sounds delicious! And particularly with Madame Margoyles playing Dickens perfect-for-her eccentric characters.

Her voice is so deep and warm and resonant, the chill New York night didn’t seem so cold anymore. She told me she was on her way to see “The Heiress” starring Jessica Chastain on Broadway. And I told her I was also seeing it later this week.

I also took a wild guess and thought that she and Dame Helen Mirren might be very good friends. Same age. British. Acting royalty. AND THEY ARE!

I told Miriam that Dame Helen had just had great success the night before at the AFI film festival with “Hitchcock” which she didn’t know anything about.

“Oh, I love Helen! Don’t you? She’s a wonderful person!” and I concurred saying that I had interviewed her many times.

“And Sir Anthony Hopkins is playing Sir Alfred Hitchcock and Dame Helen is playing his wife,” I told her and she continued to enthuse.

“I’ve worked many times with both of them. They are both lovely people!”

I told her that people are thinking that they BOTH could get Oscar nominations.

And I told her is was worried about her play because the Morgan Library is in the “Dark” zone…er, I think…

And she said, “The Lights will be on by then!”

Actors! They keep this city buzzing!

Alma Hitchcock in “Hitchcock” as Played by Dame Helen Mirren, she’s the “woman behind the man” no more!

One of the main reasons, it is rumored that Fox Searchlight changed up the Oscar race, at this late date in the awards season’s already cast-in-iron schedule (with the announcement of their opening “Hitchcock” on Thanksgiving Day), is Dame Helen Mirren’s leading role portrayal of Mrs. Hitchcock. Or more correctly Lady Hitchcock.

Alma Reville Hitchcock will be the “little woman behind the man” no more. And when Academy Award Winner Dame Helen meets a role that could please Mr. Oscar ~ LOOK OUT!  AWARDS FIREWORKS AHEAD!

Portraying her husband of some 40 years, is no less than another Academy Award Winner, Sir Anthony Hopkins. He, who did so well, with Hannibal Lecter. He had the briefest Best Actor screen time in all of Hwood history! Yes, he did!  And he’s sure to make a meal of the delectably juicy Sir Alfred’s plumminess.

AND there’s the added bonus of the never-before-nominated Scarlett Johanson portraying Academy-Award Nominee Janet Leigh. She was the  naked-girl-in-the-shower-scene, perhaps the most famous scene Hitchcock ever shot.

The film was purported to detail the behind-the-scenes story of “Psycho,” but it seems now from rumors out of La-La Land, it is the marriage of Alfred & Alma that is taking center stage in the story instead.

And it’s  a great Hollywood love story that never has been told.

One way to catch up on it quick, if you can’t wait til November, and who can? Is to read their daughter Patricia’s recent biography of her mother “Alma Hitchock -The Woman Behind the Man.” It’s a delightful read and really fills in rather completely just who Alma Reville was.

A tiny British beauty, she was involved with movies even before her husband was. She was a film editor. And before that briefly an actress. And she and Hitch met when they were both making silent films. He was designing sets and writing the inter-titles for the Silents. It’s so interesting to me that both their careers spanned the entire history of movies!

Alma Reville wrote many of the scripts for her husband’s movies, though she did not always get screen credit for them. For instance on “The Lady Vanishes” she gets top billing, but it says “Continuity by Alma Reville.”

And her expert editing eye was involved in almost every artistic decision the Master made. This according to the man himself. Her roles in his life and work were many and varied, and she was a good cook, too! Her recipes are included in the back of Patricia Hitchcock’s loving memoir.

Every script would be run by Alma first, and if she thought it would make a good movie, Hitch then acted upon it. If Alma said “no!” it was a dead project. And Alma did much, much more of the writing and re-writing on many of his films that she was never credited with. Pat Hitchcock’s book, and now “Hitchcock” the movie seem intent on redressing this imbalance.

The Master of Suspense was not joking when he said, “The only critic I fear is my wife.”

Their dutiful daughter Pat was also an actress herself and her most memorable role was of the mystery-obsessed younger sister to Ruth Roman in one of Hitchcock’s many masterpieces “Strangers on a Train”

She’s quite petite and probably is more a mirror of her mother’s pleasant-minded-ness and orderliness, than her father’s famed dark side. Pat Hitchcock appears on the special features on nearly every DVD of her father’s work.

Alfred Hitchock always gave Alma all the credit for everything he did, if he was asked.

“I’m nothing without your mother,” he would say over and over again to his daughter, and any journalist who would listen, and I bet Fox Searchlight’s rushing “Hitchcock” into an awards season release is going to show us just HOW much Alma meant to him. And to his work, that everyone loves so much. And the eternal debt filmdom owes to her for everything that she did do behind the scenes.

Pat Hitchcock says, “Nobody ever gave my mother credit for anything. And she didn’t take the credit herself.” Though, as I said, her husband certainly did when asked.

I can’t wait for this movie! And I bet Patricia Hitchock herself is probably DEEE-lighted by this turn of events where at long last her mother is going to go “toe-to-toe” as Oscar Blogger Extraordinaire Scott Feinberg says in “The Hollywood Reporter.”

It will be a “Good Evening” at the movies indeed!

And then there’s “The Girl” ANOTHER movie on Sir Alfred, this time about “The Birds” and his tormented relationship with its’ star Tippi Hedren. That will be on HBO very soon, and tells, evidently ANOTHER story completely. There’s a book by Donald Spoto out on this topic, which this film is based on, and it’s hair-raising. And I believe, true.

“Lincoln” Sneaks in NJ, Viewer Tweets NY Post “It’s Boring”!!

NY Post’s film critic Lou Lumenick received an outraged twitter review & email from a film goer who saw the sneak preview of “Lincoln” in NJ yesterday and complained that the film was “boring.” As Lumenick parsed it “take it with a grain of salt.” But the way he presents it in his article www.nypost.com ,it DOES sound as dry as dust.
It evidently keeps most of its’ action in the Congressional rooms and hallways, eschewing the more dramatic CIVIL WAR ITSELF that was raging outside. Nevermind the horrors of slavery. It’s all about LEGISLATION. I knew it. I just knew it. Screenwriter Tony Kushner is  very academic, almost pedantic sometimes. And it looks like  this time is one of THOSE times. AND it’s nearly three hours!

Given this info, plus the rather strange and deadly trailer of “Lincoln” that popped up last week, I think Dreamworks may have a real historic Oscar dud on its’ hands. If Hollywood hands Oscar a lemon, Oscar doesn’t make lemonade. He just nominates SOMEBODY ELSE.

This enraged viewer wrote to Lumenick that “It WILL NOT be nominated for Best Picture”! But thought Daniel Day-Lewis would. Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln was “miscast”. I believe that, too. And this news also makes sense of Fox Searchlight’s rushing “Hitchcock” into release on Thanksgiving weekend. Making it eligible for this year’s Oscars, not next and putting Sir Anthony Hopkins’ Sir Alfred Hitchcock right in the, er, thick of things.

Best Actor seems so crowded this year. With DDL, Joaquin Phoenix(“The Master”), Hugh Jackman{“Les Miserables”) and John Hawkes in Searchlight’s other contender “The Sessions” all but locked down. Means that “Life of Pi” and “Flight” coming up fast at the New York Film Festival and which I’m doomed, er, destined  to see very soon, might not be All That.

And then there’s the volatile, still-open-for-business Best Actress category, which Dame Helen as Lady Alma Hitchcock, who is evidently at the center of the story of this movie, and yes, it’s a mature love story, could slip right in there. Knocking out another slippery Dame. Judi. For Fox Searchlight’s “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and/or Fox 2.0 ‘s OTHER Best Actress filly in the race, 8-year-old Qu’venzhane Wallis.  For “Beasts of the -Southern Wild.” I personally don’t think Fox Searchlight is acting SURE about either of their ladies-in-question.

Nevertheless,  Searchlight saw a place and decided to fill it with the formidable weight-y, Oscar-baity  Sir Alfred.

Hollywood loves Hollywood more and more each day.

See last year’s, Best Picture “The Artist” which won four other Oscars, too, including Best Actor for Jean Dujardin and “Hugo” also about early filmmaking, though in France. “Hugo” got four technical Oscars, but they are Oscars nonetheless.

Shot VERY quickly by documentarian Sasha Gervase, whose only other previous helming was the hilarious doc “Anvil:The Story of Anvil” and it seems he got every thing right!

Doc makers know how to make that first take work. That’s all you’ve got in documentaries. You have no choice. You have to GET THAT SHOT, or else, it’s gone forever. It’s called Run and Gun and I like working that way myself on my TV show http://www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow.

And “Anvil” was that rarest of docs. One with a sense of humor!

So, back to “Lincoln”, even though I’m sure the feelings of the film-goer that contacted Lumenick were genuine, Stephen Spielberg’s films, even the weakest, like “Munich”, or misguided like “War Horse”, they STILL get a Best Picture nomination regardless, but in a field of ten possibles, I’m still sure “Lincoln” is IN.

But look at Sir Alfred go! His corpse is dancing! Maybe all the way to the Oscars! And in his lifetime, let it be noted Hitch never won a Best Director Oscar himself. Maybe he’ll be getting one posthumously.

He was one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. THEE greatest in MY book.

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