Tonight is the Gala night for Hitchcock…. among a lucky few, last Thursday little diva and I were invited with a select group of people to see Hitchcock ahead of the gala and we absolutely loved the movie. It’s a love story about one of the most influential filmmakers of the last century and although I never saw Psyhco, the story was about Alfred Hitchcock and his wife and partner Alma Reville during the making of Hitchcock’s seminal movie Psycho which everyone seemed to know about except moi …but then I am a romantic comedy fan and hardly see scary, violent or sad movies.
What interested me though was the fact that the movie they were making was based on a book….and as my Masters thesis is on genre transformation, this naturally appealed heaps to me. My thesis case study was on ‘The English Patient’ and although I had selected my thesis before reading the book or seeing the movie, it was the perfect choice – once I saw the movie, there was no looking back.
Similarly, Hitchcock is based on a book called Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by an author called Stephen Rebello. I will only know if the movie did justice to the book and what really went behind the scenes when I read the book but I know from my previous thesis and studies that as much as I love the book, the treatment in the movie always fascinates me a lot more as it appeals to a lot more senses.
As a marketing chick, it was great looking at what went behind the scenes and the awesome way Hitchcock marketed the movie when it opened. I don’t think anyone else could have done a better job in the way it was presented. Very unorthodox.
I’m sure many men and women will relate to the sentiments of Hitchcock and Alma in the parts where he fears deception by Alma although Alma always strived to do what was always best for him, stood by his side, made sacrifices. Men generally don’t appreciate the sacrifices women make for them until the thought of losing them comes to light or when they get a knock on the head.
As we see in the movie, Alma edits his scripts, constantly gives notes, adds the wow factor to the story and even directs while her husband is laid up at home sick and yet receives little credit. The pressure imposed by Hitch quickly reveals insecurities of old age…why do men think that a blonde bimbo on their arm will make them feel younger? Hitch always seemed to search for the perfect blonde and Alma felt she perhaps could not fit the bill. (On second thoughts, I’m glad Hitch at least had good sense to get detracted by a blonde in form of the beautiful Scarlett Johansson than some dark-haired old granny from South America who in an attempt to leave the poverty of her country would have played mind games that would have given Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ a totally different twist…).
I found Alma’s character, played by Helen Mirren incredibly strong. Given the complex moods of Hitch, her outlook, strength and grace with which she makes it all work is admirable. She may have allowed herself to become a footnote in Hitch’s career, but it is clear from this autobiography that without her, Hitchcock would not have had the accolades he received. It was also evident that Alma chose to be behind the scenes but I loved how she fought back when her loyalty to Hitchcock was questioned. I think we as women are often the strength behind the men in our lives but either the men are too stupid or too involved to see the loyalty we hold or by the time they see it, it is often too late. There were moments in the movie when I wished Whitfield would just take Alma away just so Hitch could see what he had and lost…but then we would be detracting from what really happened in the original circumstances! And Whitfield was a womaniser so it would be like out of the frying pan into the fire.
I wish I had seen this movie a lot earlier….I am sure a lot of people in Dubai would have finally seen this movie tonight as part of DIFF…it was a really great choice. Thanks #DIFF12 for yet another thought-provoking film.