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#040 Alfred Hitchcock: Rear Window vs. Torn Curtain w/ guest Michael Denniston of “War Machine vs. War Horse Podcast”


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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Alfred Hitchcock’s best and worst rated films, Rear Window (1954) and Torn Curtain (1966), respectively. Nate brings up Hitchcock’s array of fetishes, Austin fawns over Jimmy Stewart, and Michael’s dog decides to join us.

Check out more of Michael’s podcast War Machine vs. War Horse at FollowingFilms.com. You can also follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense (1999) and After Earth (2013), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this interview with Alfred Hitchcock where he describes how to use a character’s life and environment to create an interesting story:


Torn Curtain Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: An American scientist publicly defects to East Germany as part of a cloak and dagger mission to find the solution for a formula resin and then figuring out a plan to escape back to the West.

  • Ratings: IMDb 6.7 | RT 65% C / 53% A
  • Released: 1966
  • Director: Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho, Dial M For Murder)
  • Writer(s): Brian Moore
  • Cinematographer: John F. Warren
  • Notable actors: Paul Newman, Julie Andrews, Lila Kedrova, Hansjorg Felmy, Tamara Toumanova, Ludwig Donath, David Opatoshu, Mort Mills
  • Budget: $3 million
  • Box office: $13 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Alfred Hitchcock was so unhappy with this film that he decided to not to make a trailer with his appearance in it.
    • Was reportedly one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most unhappy directing jobs.
    • One of the reasons Alfred Hitchcock did not want to use Paul Newman and Julie Andrews was their very high fees.For the rest of his career Hitchcock would never hire performers with the same sort of fee or above.
    • Alfred Hitchcock told François Truffaut that he was dissatisfied with the performance of Paul Newman as Professor Armstrong, but he thought that the performance of Wolfgang Kieling as Gromek was very good.
    • Alfred Hitchcock originally wanted to cast Cary Grant in the lead role, but Grant told him he was too old.

Rear Window Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

  • Ratings: IMDb 8.5 | RT 100% C / 95% A
  • Released: 1954
  • Director: Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho, Dial M For Murder)
  • Writer(s): John Michael Hayes (screenplay), Cornwell Woolrich (short story)
  • Cinematographer: Robert Burks (Vertigo, North by Northwest, The Birds)
  • Notable actors: Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter, Raymond Burr, Judith Evelyn, Frank Cady
  • Budget: $1 million
  • Box office: $36.8 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • According to Georgine Darcy, the scene in which the man and woman on the fire escape struggle in their attempt to get in out of the rain can be attributed to a prank by Alfred Hitchcock. Each actor in the apartment complex facing Jeff’s rear window wore an earpiece through which they could receive Hitchcock’s directions. Hitchcock told the man to pull the mattress in one direction and told the woman to pull in the opposite direction. Unaware that they had received conflicting directions, the couple began to fight and struggle to get the mattress inside once the crew began filming the scene. The resulting mayhem in which one of the couple is tossed inside the window with the mattress provided humor and a sense of authenticity to the scene which Hitchcock liked. He was so pleased with the result that he did not order another take.
    • The entire picture was shot on one set, which required months of planning and construction. The apartment-courtyard set measured 98 feet wide, 185 feet long and 40 feet high, and consisted of 31 apartments, eight of which were completely furnished. The courtyard was set 20 to 30 feet below stage level, and some of the buildings were the equivalent of five or six stories high. The film was shot quickly on the heels of Dial M for Murder (1954), November 27 1953-February 26 1954.
    • All of the sound in the film is diegetic, meaning that all the music, speech and other sounds all come from within the world of the film [with the exception of non-diegetic orchestral music heard in the first three shots of the film].
    • During the month-long shoot Georgine Darcy, who played “Miss Torso”, “lived” in her apartment all day, relaxing between takes as if really at home.
    • The only film in which Grace Kelly is seen with a cigarette. She refused to smoke in films, except this once.
    • While shooting, Alfred Hitchcock worked only in Jeff’s “apartment.” The actors in other apartments wore flesh-colored earpieces so that he could radio his directions to them.
    • One thousand arc lights were used to simulate sunlight. Thanks to extensive pre-lighting of the set, the crew could make the changeover from day to night in under forty-five minutes.
    • All the apartments in Thorwald’s building had electricity and running water, and could be lived in.
    • The film negative was considerably damaged as a result of color dye fading as early as the 1960s. Nearly all of the yellow image dyes had faded out. Despite fears that the film had been irrevocably damaged, preservation experts were able to restore the film nearly to its original coloration.

 

Intro music: Calm The Fuck Down – Broke For Free / CC BY 3.0

 


 

The Best and Worst of the Best Podcast is a show where host’s Nate and Austin compare a film director’s best and worst rated movies to see where they went wrong.



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