Friend, blog reader and sometime fellow blogger Harvey nudged me gently last week with a bit of information I hadn’t remembered. August 13th, 2014 was the 115th birth anniversary of Alfred Hitchcock. Was I planning to post something Hitchcock-related to mark the occasion?
And how could I not? Hitchcock – in my opinion, one of the best directors cinema has ever seen, regardless of time and place – is a firm favourite of mine. I’ve reviewed several of his films; in fact, one of the first films I reviewed on this blog (The 39 Steps) dates from Hitchcock’s early British period. I’ve reviewed a hilariously black comedy (The Trouble with Harry); I’ve reviewed classics like Rebecca, and relatively little-known ones (among those not Hitchcock aficionados, I hasten to add) like Strangers on a Train or Lifeboat.
Time (and occasion) therefore, I concluded, to review one of my favourite of Hitchcock’s colour films, in the classic suspense mould. Rear Window, about a photographer stuck in his tiny apartment with a broken leg…
I was – at least as far as emotional maturity is concerned – a baby when I first saw High Noon, and I didn’t care for it much then. Not that I wasn’t fond of Westerns; I adored Westerns. In book form, in cinema, in song. For me, the genre was all that was gloriously outdoorsy and never-say-die: cowboys and Comanche, Monument Valley, smoking barrels and rearing horses, the good versus the bad in that final gunfight. High Noon turned all of that on its head, and left me feeling uncomfortable and disappointed.
I didn’t realise till much later that that disappointment was not the disappointment of watching a film that was bad. Rather, it was the disappointment of discovering that what I’d been rejoicing in till then was not the ultimate in a genre. Some growing up had happened.
I have rewatched High Noon since then, and I’ve come to appreciate this film deeply. I still do like hard-core Westerns like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Stagecoach and The Magnificent Seven a lot – but High Noon is in a class all by itself.
It’s been a while since I did my eye candy posts—lists of the Hollywood and Bollywood actors I think top the class when it comes to sheer good looks (nobody’s talking acting ability here). And in case you thought I’d forgotten about the ladies: no, I hadn’t. And yes, here they are: a list of the ten women I think were the loveliest in English-language cinema during the golden years.
Yes, I know I should’ve included her and her and her, and yes, how could I’ve forgotten her, but hey: this is my list! Enjoy, and tell me who your favourites are.
These, by the way, are more or less in order.
When I was a kid in the late 80’s, All India Radio used to air a series of Western music programmes, most of which consisted of songs from the 50’s and 60’s. There was one programme—I’ve forgotten what it was called—which focused on music from the movies: Oklahoma!, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music—and High Society. I was singing along to Who wants to be a millionaire long before I realised that yes, I did want to be one.
But, without further ado: this is a film with a title that’s pretty self-explanatory. High society in Newport centres round exquisite Tracy Samantha Lord (Grace Kelly), who’s getting ready to marry distinctly stuffy social climber George Kittredge (John Lund).
Yes, I know. Another Alfred Hitchcock. But I really can’t help it: this man directed some of the most gripping suspense films ever, and he deserves more than just a passing mention in any site dedicated to the films. So here goes: a great film starring the lovely Grace Kelly, and with some brilliant twists and turns in the plot.