Tagged: Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

John Forsythe’s Autumn Attire in The Trouble with Harry

John Forsythe as Sam Marlowe in The Trouble with Harry (1955)

John Forsythe as Sam Marlowe in The Trouble with Harry (1955)

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John Forsythe as Sam Marlowe, touchy artist who scores the town with his belting baritone

Vermont, Fall 1954

Film: The Trouble with Harry
Release Date: September 30, 1955
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

As we settle into what looks like a comfortable autumn—at least for fallphiles like me—I want to highlight what must be one of the earliest movies to truly capture the season’s striking colors.

Though regarded as the “Master of Suspense”, Alfred Hitchcock had long incorporated humor into his movies. The Trouble with Harry differentiates itself among Hitch’s more earnest thrillers and mysteries by emphasizing the comedy, resulting in what may be among of the director’s least suspenseful outfit but still entertaining and certainly aesthetically satisfying. Continue reading

Roscoe Lee Browne in Topaz

Roscoe Lee Browne as Philippe Dubois in Topaz

Roscoe Lee Browne as Philippe Dubois in Topaz (1969)

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Roscoe Lee Browne as Philippe Dubois, smooth-talking Martinican-American sleeper agent

New York City, Fall 1962

Film: Topaz
Release Date: December 19, 1969
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

Following last month’s look at a “hero costume” from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1942 thriller Saboteur, I want to continue exploring style from the lesser-known entries in the Master of Suspense’s oeuvre. Loosely based on the “Martel affair” and events leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis, Topaz was Hitch’s final movie centered around espionage, though I consider it to lack much of the spark that fueled his earlier successes like North by Northwest.

The single exception in Topaz may be a brief scene made more memorable by the appearance of Martinican agent Philippe Dubois, portrayed by Roscoe Lee Browne, the multi-talented star of stage and screen born 100 years ago today on May 2, 1922. Continue reading

Saboteur: Bob Cummings’ Heroic Leather Flight Jacket

Robert Cummings as Barry Kane in Saboteur

Robert Cummings as Barry Kane in Saboteur (1942)

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Robert Cummings as Barry Kane, civilian aircraft mechanic

From Glendale, California, into the High Desert, Spring 1942

Film: Saboteur
Release Date: April 22, 1942
Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Background

Alfred Hitchcock’s wartime thriller Saboteur—not to be confused with his earlier movie Sabotage—was released 80 years ago this month. Though production began just days after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the idea had actually been months in the making after Hitch’s original pitch to David O. Selznick. “We were in 1941 and there were pro-German elements who called themselves America Firsters and who were, in fact, American Fascists. This was the group I had in mind while writing the scenario,” Hitchcock later explained to François Truffaut.

Despite his traditional elements of the wronged man, the beautiful blonde, and the “MacGuffin,” Hitch identified several disappointments with Saboteur, most notably in the casting of his two heroes and the villain. Of leading male star Robert Cummings, who portrayed the accused saboteur, Hitch commented to Truffaut that “he’s a competent performer, but he belongs to the light-comedy class of actors,” though this wouldn’t stop him from casting him a decade later in a strong supporting role in Dial M for Murder. Continue reading

Marnie: Sean Connery’s Beige Herringbone Tweed Suit

Sean Connery as Mark Rutland in Marnie (1964)

Sean Connery as Mark Rutland in Marnie (1964)

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Sean Connery as Mark Rutland, publisher

Philadelphia to Baltimore, Spring 1964

Film: Marnie
Release Date: July 22, 1964
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head
Men’s Costumes: James Linn

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Months before Goldfinger was released and cemented Bond-mania among the cinematic zeitgeist of the 1960s, Sean Connery got the opportunity to show audiences that he was capable of more than just suave secret-agenting with the back-to-back releases of thrillers Woman of Straw and Marnie. The latter has been celebrated as the better-regarded of the two, with some even calling it Alfred Hitchcock’s underappreciated masterpiece, though Hitch himself was more dismissive when discussing the work with François Truffaut:

I wasn’t convinced that Sean Connery was a Philadelphia gentleman. You know, if you want to reduce Marnie to its lowest common denominator, it is the story of the prince and the beggar girl. In a story of this kind you need a real gentleman, a more elegant man than what we had.

Say what you will about Connery’s performance, but I’ve considered Hitchcock’s criticism to be somewhat undeserved, particularly considering that the adaptation of Winston Graham’s 1961 novel of the same name condensed the characters of Marnie’s husband, Mark Rutland, and the psychoanalyst that Mark forces Marnie to see. Thus, Connery’s characterization requires him to convincingly depict Mark as first a charismatic cad, then a manipulative rapist, and—ultimately—a quasi-therapist whose motives are depicted more through the lens of spousal support than domination. Given the challenge of the role, I believe Connery ably rose to the occasion, bringing out more savage sides of the character than we may have believed in the hands of Hitch’s erstwhile stalwarts like Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart.

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Psycho: Norman Bates in Corduroy

Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in Psycho (1960)

Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in Psycho (1960)

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Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, mother-obsessed motel proprietor and amateur bird taxidermist

Fairvale, California, Fall 1959

Film: Psycho
Release Date: September 8, 1960
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Rita Riggs (uncredited)
Costume Supervisor: Helen Colvig

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

A boy’s best friend is his mother…

Alfred Hitchcock would probably find some dark humor in choosing Mother’s Day to focus on Psycho, the story of a young man’s complicated relationship with his mother.

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Rear Window: James Stewart’s Pajamas

James Stewart and Thelma Ritter in Rear Window (1954)

James Stewart and Thelma Ritter in Rear Window (1954)

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James Stewart as L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies, bored photographer

New York City, Summer 1954

Film: Rear Window
Release Date: September 1, 1954
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

April 16 is celebrated as National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day, an observance that many would have considered unthinkable until the spread of the coronavirus pandemic last month found many around the world working from home for the first time, finding comfort in their lounge-wear while struggling with unfamiliar teleconferencing software. The idea of being confined to one’s home in pajamas while a growing terror lurks outside brought one movie to mind: Alfred Hitchcock’s damn-near-perfect thriller Rear Window.
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Jimmy Stewart’s Brown Tweed Sports Coat in Vertigo

James Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo (1958)

James Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo (1958)

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James Stewart as John “Scottie” Ferguson, former San Francisco detective

San Juan Bautista, California, Fall 1957

Film: Vertigo
Release Date: May 9, 1958
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Let’s wrap up this week’s commemoration of Alfred Hitchcock’s 120th birthday with another exploration of the style in Vertigo, now considered one of the Master of Suspense’s masterpieces though it may have been overlooked during his lifetime and resulted in the end of his successful collaborations with James Stewart.

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To Catch a Thief: Cary Grant’s Casual Riviera Style

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly on location for To Catch a Thief (1955)

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly on location for To Catch a Thief (1955)

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Cary Grant as John Robie, retired cat burglar and jewel thief

French Riviera, Summer 1954

Film: To Catch a Thief
Release Date: August 5, 1955
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

In commemoration of Alfred Hitchcock’s 120th birthday on August 13, this week continues with a look at one of the Master of Suspense’s most stylish movies, the 1955 romantic caper To Catch a Thief.

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Bruno’s Hitch-Designed Lobster Tie in Strangers on a Train

Robert Walker as Bruno Antony in Strangers on a Train (1951)

Robert Walker as Bruno Antony in Strangers on a Train (1951)

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Robert Walker as Bruno Antony, obsessive psychopath who “never seemed to do anything”

On the train from Washington, D.C., to New York, Late Summer 1950

Film: Strangers on a Train
Release Date: June 30, 1951
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Leah Rhodes

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

This week, BAMF Style commemorates the birthday of Alfred Hitchcock, showcasing some notable men’s style across the oeuvre of the “Master of Suspense” who was born 120 years ago today on August 13, 1899. Continue reading

Jimmy Stewart’s Blue-Gray Flannel Suit in Vertigo

James Stewart as John "Scottie" Ferguson in Vertigo (1958)

James Stewart as John “Scottie” Ferguson in Vertigo (1958)

Vitals

James Stewart as John “Scottie” Ferguson, former San Francisco detective

San Francisco, Fall 1957

Film: Vertigo
Release Date: May 9, 1958
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

In the spirit of yesterday, March 12, being deemed Alfred Hitchcock Day, not to mention being one week away from the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, even if the weather itself can’t make up its mind…

For those whose offices call for jackets and ties, dressing for work during these transitional weather periods can be a challenge, balancing professionalism with comfort in the context of an uncertain weather forecast. As San Francisco detective “Scottie” Ferguson in Vertigo, James Stewart provides a solution.

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