The IFI’s comprehensive season of Alfred Hitchcock’s films, the biggest season the IFI has ever mounted, continues through January with the second of four monthly instalments that cover the entire surviving catalogue of the master director’s work. It’s also time to get booking for the fascinating Shadow of a Genius Evening Course that will trace Hitchcock’s influence on a range of filmmakers from Claude Chabrol to Neil Jordan over six weeks from 5th Feb.
The upcoming films from this month’s selection include a number of Hitchcock’s British films including Sabotage, a suspenseful film that brings Hitchcock’s London to life through location shooting and elaborate studio reconstruction, and The Lady Vanishes, an irresistible blend of anti-appeasement thriller, screwball comedy and psychodrama that was a big success with the U.S. critics and helped Hitchcock on his way to Hollywood. Also showing is Frenzy, a classic wrong man story and Hitchcock’s final film made back in the U.K. This heady blend of sex, violence, gourmet cuisine and vivid locations gave him his biggest success in a decade in 1972.
The classic comparison between Hitchcock’s career in the U.S and Britain can be found in the two versions of The Man Who Knew Too Much screening this month. Both versions directed by Hitchcock, the film was originally made in Britain in 1934 and then remade in the U.S in 1956. There’s no doubt that the original is a fantastic thriller and perhaps has the edge in freshness and energy but the remake is widely admired for its charismatic stars Doris Day and James Stewart. Robin Wood, the greatest Hitchcock scholar, thought only the most chauvinistic British critics could prefer the original but you don’t have to agree: go see for yourself.
Strangers on the Train,which brought Hitchcock out of a (relatively) slow period in 1951, is an undoubted highlight of the month. This psychologically rigorous film details the exchange of murders between two men on a train; it’s full of classic suspense sequences leading to a brilliant final confrontation on an out-of-control fairground carousel. Other U.S. films on show in January include a 1940s appeal for American involvement in the war with the Foreign Correspondent; the wartime Lifeboat, strongly anti-Fascist but with a fully-drawn German character; Shadow of a Doubt, a personal favourite of Hitchcock and the film that he felt marked his transition to becoming a fully American director.
For those inspired by the Hitchcock screenings and who’d like to delve a bit deeper into Hitchcock’s influence on other film artists, IFI Education is running a six-week adult evening course every Tuesday night from 5thFeb. Each week a different film that highlights a particular aspect of Hitchcock’s legacy will be shown. Films from directors are as diverse as Sydney Pollack, Joon-Ho Bong and Pedro Almodóvar will be shown and each film will be accompanied by a talk from an expert speaker.
The Genius of Hitchcock: Part Two – Schedule
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) – Jan 12th 13.40
Sabotage – Jan 12th15.20
The Lady Vanishes – Jan 13th 14.00
Foreign Correspondent + Bon Voyage Jan 13th 16.10
Shadow of a Doubt Jan 14th 19.00
Lifeboat + Aventure Malgache – Jan 16th 18.40
Strangers on a Train – Jan 19th 14.00
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) – Jan 20th 15.50
Frenzy – Jan 21st 18.30
Family Plot – Jan 28th 18.30
For full details of Shadow of a Genius Evening Course see www.ifi.ie or the IFI January programme.
Tickets are available from the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477 or online at www.ifi.ie.