I love Hitchcock. The more I've seen by the master the more I've been astonished by the absolute quality of his output and his consistency as a filmmaker. Choosing favorites among his many great films is difficult, as each time I watch or re-watch a Hitchcock film, I'm convinced its my favorite. I'm irrevocably certain that there is value in all of his films, even in the lesser ones or those deemed "minor." Hitchcock was not a minor director by any stretch of the imagination and I don't think any of his films can be considered "minor." He was a monolithic filmmaker and all of his films are touched by his grandeur in some way. He's just thatimportant and colossal of a director.
So, I've at least liked all of the Hitchcock films that I've seen, with the exception of MARNIE (not a bad film at all, just was annoyed to death by Tippi Hedron in the role). I haven't seen MR. AND MRS. SMITH so I can't get in on the debate over its merits. I can imagine that I'd really like it due to the presence of Ms. Lombard, but who knows. I'd like to see it at some point anyhow. I also haven't seen anything post-MARNIE, but the only two films I haven't seen from 1941-1959 are THE PARADINE CASE and UNDER CAPRICORN. So, I've seen a decent amount for now, and there's always room for more.
Chris, I find your lack of faith in SHADOW OF A DOUBT disturbing. :)
1. Shadow of a Doubt
I'd have to go with this little number from 1943 as my favorite of his films (Hitch's favorite as well), and not just because of the great Joseph Cotton. I love the characters, the dialogue, the small town setting, and just the unraveling of Uncle Charlie's true persona as young Charlie's perceptions about the world and what she knows are unraveled in the process. It's a film filled with the highest amount of tension and a sort of creeping melancholy over the disruption of youthful fantasy and desires. I just love it.
2. Rear Window
All right, I can't keep up writing paragraphs for each pick as I'm too lazy, but I'll at least write a sentence for each of the top ten.
I had almost forgotten how great this film is until I watched it again a month or so ago. It's just so damn entertaining and effortlessly watchable. I love the ineffable feel of it.
I love the Nietzsche talk.
I love the dreaminess.
5. The Lady Vanishes
I love the detached, dry humor.
I love how much it plays with memory and dreams and for being one of the first films to make me truly love classic cinema.
I love its little details in building dread and atmosphere and for its shocking stairway kill (it seriously beats out the shower scene as one of the best kills in all of cinema).
8. The 39 Steps
I love how much of a picaresque adventure it is through the different landscapes and social spheres of England.
I love how much we fear for the safety of its characters and Cary Grant's "movie star" reveal.
I love its Brontë-ishness.
11. Strangers on a Train
12. North by Northwest
13. Dial M for Murder
14. Young and Innocent
15. The Wrong Man
16. Foreign Correspondent
17. The Trouble With Harry
19. I Confess
HM: Lifeboat, The Man Who Knew Too Much (both versions), Stage Fright, The Birds, Sabotage, To Catch a Thief, Murder!