North by Northwest

Four Rooms

The release of Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel has me ready for a vacation. Preferably one where I don’t have to sleep with Ralph Fiennes. Fortuantely, a century of movies has offered a reasonable amount of alternatives by way of postcard porn. On the lam, on the case or on holiday, there are a lot of films that take us away from our normal lives and into the sweet embrace of resort living — in places real and fictitious. Since it’s the weekend, let’s all grab some sunglasses and an animal mask for a little virtual getaway.

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Foreign Correspondent

After directing more than twenty feature films in Britain, Alfred Hitchcock’s big introduction to Hollywood came in the form of two films released only four months apart in 1940, both of which were nominated for that year’s Best Picture Academy Award. The gothic chamber drama Rebecca ended up taking home the Oscar, while the trans-continental wartime adventure Foreign Correspondent eventually became all but a footnote in the Hitchcock canon. While Rebecca is no doubt a complex, layered masterwork with its fair share of brilliant Hitchcockian touches (check out IndieWire’s excellent take on the film’s lesbian themes), critics and historians have contended that Rebecca was at least as much a David O. Selznick film as it was a Hitchcock entry. In fact, Hitch himself told Truffaut that he didn’t see Rebecca as a Hitchcock picture because of its lack of humor. But Foreign Correspondent (whose Criterion treatment was released this week) displays a more direct, linear relationship to what would come in Hitchcock’s subsequent career in Hollywood. If we view Foreign Correspondent as the master of suspense’s first American film “in a sense” (as James Naremore puts it in his Criterion essay), then Foreign Correspondent can be seen as mapping Hitchcock’s own trans-Atlantic trek, forming a bridge between his British intrigue and his Hollywood spectacle. And now is as good a time as any to resurrect Foreign Correspondent’s worthy status as a Hitchcock classic.

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The Ingredients is a column devoted to breaking down the components of a new film release with some focus on influential movies that came before. As always, these posts look at the entire plots of films and so include SPOILERS.  The James Bond series is something of a hub in the course of film and pop culture history. As iconic as it is on its own, it tends to be informed by other material as often as it does the informing. In the beginning, for example, the movies were highly influenced by the works of Alfred Hitchcock. Author Ian Fleming even wished for Hitch to direct the first movie adapted from his 007 novels. And Cary Grant was famously sought for the part of Bond, which would have been interesting had he continued with the second film, From Russia With Love, given how much it calls to mind North by Northwest. Instead, little-known Sean Connery embodied the character, and after the first two installments made the actor famous, Hitch cast him in Marnie. As usual, the director capitalized on a movie star’s pre-existing notoriety, his screen value, which makes it quite difficult for us to see Connery’s Marnie character, Mark Rutland, as anything but James Bond as a wife-raping publisher. Hitch went another step with his next film, Torn Curtain, which was an admitted direct response to the 007 films. He wrote to Francois Truffaut in 1965: “In realizing that James Bond and the imitators of James Bond were more or less making […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column about movies that may or may not be skimming the good stuff off the top of tonight’s news sundae because it needs to go get caught up on Breaking Bad. Don’t worry, there’s still plenty happening… We begin this evening with an image of Forest Whitaker as Eugene Allen in The Butler. The Lee Daniels directed film focuses on the long-time White House servant and will also star the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Robin Williams, John Cusack and Alan Rickman.

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Warners is hoping to start a beautiful friendship with movie fans by offering digital copies of classic scripts – complete with background information and scenes embedded amidst the dialogue and description. Their digital distribution arm has announced the “Inside The Script” program which makes available these beefed-up versions of the original screenplays for classics for iBookstore, Kindle and NOOK. In addition to the script, a veritable book of production history, production notes, storyboard, pictures, posters and behind-the-scenes pictures are all included in the ten-dollar download (or $9.99 if you’re a stickler for exactitude). Right now, the program includes work from Casablanca, North By Northwest, An American in Paris and Ben-Hur with plans to add more shortly. This seems like a treasure trove of movie geek goodness, but it’ll be interesting to see if fans will shell out ten bucks for the privilege. What’s most interesting here is that this is the kind of material normally relegated to coffee table books and historic tomes that could double as anchors. It’s a sign that the studio is interested in engaging on a digital level. Now to see if that intuition will translate to film distribution itself. Either way, this program is a spectacular idea that could give a lot of fans the chance to delve deeper into a part of the movies they love. I’ll take 3 Casablancas please. For more information, check out Inside The Script’s Facebook Page.  

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This post is probably not what you think. There are no LOLCats, no Rage Comic stick men bellowing about the superiority of The Dark Knight and Inception. It’s not really a love letter to modernity. But it’s also not Sight & Sound‘s decennial Top Ten List. That prestigious publication has done great work since even before polling critics in 1952 to name the best movies of all time. They’ve recreated the experiment every ten years since (with filmmakers included in 1992), and their 2012 list is due out soon. However, there is certainly overlap. The FSR poll includes only 37 critics (and 4 filmmakers), but we’re young and have moxy, and none of us were even asked by Sight & Sound for our considerable opinion. That’s what’s fascinating here. The films nominated by those invited by S&S have the air of critical and social importance to them. They are, almost all, serious works done by serious filmmakers attempting to make serious statements. This list, by contrast, is the temperature of the online movie community in regards to what movies are the “greatest.” The results might be what you expect. But probably not.

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Alfred Hitchcock was born in the 19th century but gave birth in the 20th century to the age of modern filmmaking. Famous for his wit, inventive appreciation of the macabre, and a firm belief that suspense involves bringing a victim out from the shadows into the light he crafted the kinds of movies that made you care about characters even while reaching for your cholesterol medication. He also has a lot to teach. To fellow filmmakers and fans alike. Which is why we’ve chosen him as the first teacher in a new series of weekly articles where master movie-makers share their insights. Throughout his life, Hitchcock was candid about his methods and philosophies (amongst other things he flung around freely). Here’s a bit of free film school from a true visionary.

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Mondo

Tomorrow will see the grand opening of Mondo’s new gallery space in Austin, Texas. Mondo, the art boutique offshoot of the Alamo Drafthouse, has been creating t-shirts, posters, and other movie-related items for several years now. In light of the new gallery opening, it seems as good a time as any to take a look back over their illustrious career. Many current poster hounds may not realize that the Mondo legacy goes back as far as it does, but old school fans will remember the phone booth-sized storefront Mondo enjoyed at the original Alamo Drafthouse on Colorado. No bigger than a postage stamp, the Mondo room was packed to the gills with t-shirts and posters. Mondo recently put up an online archive of all of their prints dating back to 1998, which frankly made this article much easier to put together. But it also serves as a window into their fantastic past, showcasing many prints you probably missed and will now furiously try to track down. Speaking of tracking down prints, here’s the top 13 on our radar.

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. How do you know Cary Grant isn’t a murderer? You don’t. Summer is coming up fast, and instead of sunburn and back injury, you can go around the country with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint from the safety of your own home. From the streets of New York City to the faces of Mount Rushmore, this travel packages includes everything (and puts a knife in your hand at just the wrong moment). Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Chances are that you stumbled upon this list while googling “Amber Heard Clothed.” It’s okay. We get mistaken for The Huffington Post all the time. Our feelings aren’t hurt at all. Cases of mistaken identity are not a daily occurrence (unless wrong numbers count) for everyone. They’re something we shouldn’t be able to relate to in any way, something relegated to the world of secret agents and people with houses on top of Mount Rushmore. Yet, for some reason, they work incredibly well as a plot device – most likely because they represent one of our greatest fears. Being mistaken for someone else robs us of our own identity, places our sanity into question, and can lead to physical danger if the person we’re being mistaken for is in trouble. Movies that use them well ask a question of how quickly your life can change because of someone else and how far reality can be turned on its head. In celebration of reality being called into question, we present the list of The 10 Most Confusing Cases of Mistaken Identity.

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Cinespia will be hosting a stellar line up of The Wizard of Oz, The Thing, North by Northwest, and, the cherry on top, Purple Rain.

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It has been a long year for Blu-ray releases, and one that has seen some great gems and some major disappointments. But in the end, we have ten honorable mentions and ten best releases, all of which should be in your collection.

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nxnw-giveaway

Yesterday we gave everyone a chance to win a copy one of the worst movies that we’ve ever given away. But today we follow it by giving our Facebook Fans a chance to win one of the greatest films of all-time.

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oam-northbynorthwest

One of the best filmmakers of all time makes his best film. Shouldn’t you give it a shot?

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thisweekindvd-header1

Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves working as Roger Thornhill’s personal drycleaner… between the dust-ups and the crop dusters, Thornhill has lots of suits in need of cleaning. These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to buy more DVDs. This week… North By Northwest, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Aliens In The Attic, and more!

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SebastianGutierrez

We wanted to get inside the mind of director Sebastian Gutierrez by finding out his Top 5 films, and he somehow managed do so while naming over a dozen other films. From Bunuel to Gilliam, find out who inspires one of the weirder writer/directors out there.

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Classic 3D Cinema

What if the studios had stepped in and mandated that certain projects be 3D. FSR wondered aloud and we came up with 10 films that could’ve, nay, should’ve been made in vivid 3D.

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