To Catch a Thief

  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Producers: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Writers: John Michael Hayes, David F Dodge
  • Genres: Crime, Mystery, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis, John Williams, Charles Vanel, Brigitte Auber

John Robie (Cary Grant) is a notorious but retired jewel thief or “cat burglar,” nicknamed “The Cat,” who now tends to his vineyards in the French Riviera. A series of robberies that closely resemble his in style leads the police to believe that the Cat is up to his old tricks again. They come to arrest him, and he adeptly gives them the slip.

He immediately seeks refuge with his old gang from his days in the French Resistance, a group of ex-cons whose patriotic work led to grants of parole that depend on them keeping their noses clean. Bertani, Foussard, and the others are all under a cloud while the Cat is at large, and they blame Robie. Still, when the police arrive at Bertani’s restaurant, Foussard’s daughter Danielle (Brigitte Auber) spirits her old flame to safety.

Robie enlists the aid of an insurance man of Bertani’s acquaintance, H. H. Hughson (John Williams), in order to prove his innocence. Robie’s plan is to catch the new cat burglar in the act. To do this, he obtains a list of the most expensive jewels on the Riviera from the reluctant Hughson. The first names on the list are Jessie Stevens (Jessie Royce Landis) and her daughter Francie (Grace Kelly). Robie strikes up acquaintance with them — something met with delight by Jessie, a pretense of modesty with Francie, and claws-baring jealousy from Danielle.

Robie speeds back to his vineyard and Francie races after to convince him that he does need her in his life. He agrees, but seems less than thrilled about including her mother.

Spellbound

  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Producers: David O Selznick
  • Writers: Story, Hilary Saint George Saunders, John Palmer, Screenplay, Angus MacPhail, Ben Hecht
  • Genres: Mystery, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov, Leo G Carroll, Rhonda Fleming

But in Ourselves…

The film opens with Shakespeare’s proverb, and words on the screen announcing that its purpose is to highlight the virtues of psychoanalysis in banishing mental illness and restoring reason.

Dr. Constance Peterson (Ingrid Bergman) is a psychoanalyst at Green Manors, a mental hospital in Vermont, and is perceived by the other (male) doctors as detached and emotionless. The director of the hospital, Dr. Murchison (Leo G. Carroll), is being forced into retirement, shortly after returning from an absence due to nervous exhaustion. His replacement is the much younger Dr. Anthony Edwardes (Gregory Peck).

Dr. Peterson notices that there is something strange about Dr. Edwardes. He has a peculiar phobia about seeing sets of parallel lines against a white background, first displayed in an inappropriate reaction to seeing a diagram drawn with the tines of a fork on a tablecloth.

Dr. Peterson soon realizes, by comparing handwriting, that this man is an impostor and not the real Dr. Edwardes. He confides to her that he killed Dr. Edwardes and took his place. He suffers from massive amnesia and does not know who he is. Dr. Peterson believes that he is innocent and suffering from a guilt complex.

‘Dr. Edwardes’ disappears during the night, having left a note for Dr. Peterson that he is going to New York City.

A heartbroken Dr. Peterson returns to her position at the hospital, where Dr. Murchison is once again the director. After reconsidering her notes from the dream, she realizes that the ‘wheel’ was a revolver and that the man hiding behind the chimney and dropping the wheel was Dr. Murchison hiding behind a tree, shooting Dr. Edwardes and dropping the gun. She confronts Murchison with this and he confesses, but says that he didn’t drop the gun; he still has it. He pulls it out of his desk and threatens to shoot her. She walks away, the gun still pointed at her, and explains that while the first murder carried extenuating circumstances of his own mental state, murdering her as well surely would result in the electric chair. He allows her to leave and turns the gun on himself. Dr. Peterson is then reunited with Ballantyne.

Suspicion

  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Producers: Uncredited, Alfred Hitchcock, Harry Edington
  • Writers: Novel, Anthony Berkeley, Screenplay, Samson Raphaelson, Joan Harrison, Alma Reville
  • Genres: Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Joan Fontaine, Cary Grant, Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce, Dame May Whitty

Handsome, irresponsible cad Johnnie Aysgarth (Cary Grant) sweeps dowdy Lina McLaidlaw (Joan Fontaine) off her feet and charms her into running away and marrying him, despite the strong disapproval of her wealthy father, General McLaidlaw (Cedrick Hardwicke). After their honeymoon, they set up housekeeping in extravagant fashion, though she soon learns that Johnnie is broke and was hoping to live off her father’s generosity. She persuades him to get a job; he goes to work for his cousin, Captain Melbeck (Leo G. Carroll).

Gradually, she learns that he has continued to gamble on the horses, despite his promise to quit, and that he has sold family heirloom chairs given to them as a wedding present to help pay for things. She repeatedly catches him in lies and discovers that he has been caught embezzling and fired, though Melbeck assures her he will not prosecute if the money is repaid. Johnnie’s good-natured, if scatterbrained, friend Beaky (Nigel Bruce) tries to reassure her that her husband is a good sort, but without much success.

When the general dies, Johnnie is severely disappointed to find that he left only his portrait to Lina. He convinces Beaky to finance his next venture, a land development, even though neither he nor Beaky know much about the business. Lina tries to talk Beaky out of it, but he trusts his friend completely. Johnnie overhears and warns his wife to stay out of his affairs; nevertheless, he calls the whole thing off. When Beaky leaves for Paris, Johnnie accompanies him partway. Later, news reaches her of Beaky’s death in Paris. Johnnie lies to her and an investigating police inspector about remaining in London. This and other details lead Lina to suspect he caused it.

Needing to get away for a while, she makes up a story to stay with her mother for a few days. Johnnie insists on driving her there. He speeds recklessly on a dangerous road beside a cliff; her door pops open and she is in danger of being thrown out to her death. Johnnie reaches for her, his intent unclear to the terrified woman. When she shrinks from him, he stops the car. She comes to the conclusion that the poison was meant for his suicide to get him out of his difficulties. Her suspicions allayed, they turn around and drive home.

North by Northwest

  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Producers: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Writers: Ernest Lehman
  • Genres: Adventure, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason

A Madison Avenue advertising executive, Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant), is mistaken for a Mr. George Kaplan and kidnapped by thugs Valerian (Adam Williams) and Licht (Robert Ellenstein). He is taken to the house of Lester Townsend on Long Island. There he is interrogated by a man he assumes to be Townsend, but who is really Phillip Vandamm (James Mason). When Thornhill repeatedly denies he is Kaplan, Vandamm becomes annoyed and orders his right-hand man Leonard (Martin Landau) to get rid of him.

Thornhill is forced to drink bourbon in an attempt to stage a fatal accident. However, after a car chase on a perilous road, he is rear-ended by a police patrol car and apprehended. He is charged with drunken driving. He is unable to get the police, the judge or even his mother (Jessie Royce Landis) to believe what happened to him, especially when a woman at Townsend’s residence claims he got drunk at a dinner party; she also informs them that Townsend is a United Nations diplomat.

Thornhill and his mother go to Kaplan’s hotel room, but cannot find anyone at the hotel who has seen him.

Narrowly avoiding recapture, Thornhill takes a taxi to the General Assembly building of the United Nations, where Townsend is due to deliver a speech. Thornhill meets Townsend face to face and is surprised to find that the diplomat is not the man who interrogated him. Then Valerian throws a knife that strikes Townsend in the back. He falls forward, dead, into Thornhill’s arms. Unthinkingly, Thornhill removes the knife, making it appear to witnesses that he is the killer, forcing him to flee.

The scene transitions from Thornhill pulling Eve to safety on Mount Rushmore to him pulling her (the new Mrs. Thornhill) up onto an overhead train bunk. The final shot shows their train speeding into a tunnel.

Rear Window

  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Producers: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Writers: Cornell Woolrich, John Michael Hayes
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter, Wendell Corey, Raymond Burr

Photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries (James Stewart) is recuperating from a broken leg and confined to a wheelchair in his small Greenwich Village apartment. He passes the time by spying on his neighbors through his apartment’s rear window, including a dancer who exercises in her underwear, a lonely woman who lives by herself, a songwriter working at his piano (Ross Bagdasarian), and several married couples, including a salesman, Lars Thorwald, (Raymond Burr) with a bedridden wife.

Every day Jeff is visited by Stella (Thelma Ritter), a cranky but friendly home care nurse and Lisa Fremont (Grace Kelly), his much-younger socialite girlfriend. Lisa is madly in love with Jeff, who returns her feelings but also believes that their lifestyles are incompatible. He talks to both Lisa and Stella about his neighbors. After the salesman makes repeated late-night trips carrying a large case, Jeff notices that the bedridden wife is now gone, and sees the salesman cleaning a large knife and handsaw. Later, the salesman ties a large packing crate with heavy rope, and has moving men haul it away. By now, Jeff, Stella, and Lisa have concluded the missing wife has been murdered by the salesman.

An old Army Air Corps buddy of Jeff named Tom Doyle (Wendell Corey) is now a police detective. He looks into the situation and finds that Mrs. Thorwald is in the country, has sent a postcard to her husband, and the packing crate they had seen was full of her clothes. Chastised, they all admit to feeling a bit ghoulish at being disappointed to find out there was not a murder. Jeff and Lisa settle down for an evening alone, but a scream soon pierces the courtyard when a dog belonging to a neighbor couple is found dead with its neck broken. The neighbors all rush to their windows to see what has happened, except for Thorwald, who sits unmoving in his dark apartment, the tip of his cigarette glowing.

A few days later the heat has lifted, and Jeff rests peacefully in his wheelchair; now with two broken legs from the fall. Lisa reclines happily beside him, appearing to read a book on Himalayan travel but turning, after Jeff is asleep, to a new issue of Harpers Bazaar, a fashion magazine.

Notorious

  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Producers: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Writers: Ben Hecht
  • Genres: Drama, Film-Noir, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, Claude Rains

Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman), the American daughter of a convicted Nazi spy, is recruited by government agent T. R. Devlin (Cary Grant) to infiltrate a group of Germans who have relocated to Brazil after World War II.

While awaiting the details of her assignment in Rio de Janeiro, Alicia falls in love with Devlin. His feelings for her are complicated by his knowledge of her wild past. When Devlin is ordered to convince her to seduce Alex Sebastian (Claude Rains), one of her father’s friends and a member of the group, Devlin tries to convince his superiors that Alicia is not fit for the job. But upon seeing Alicia again, he puts up a stoic front, choosing duty over love. Alicia concludes that he does not love her, and she soon marries Alex to better spy on him and his associates.

Alicia and Devlin discover the key element of the plot by accident, but in the process leave a clue that her husband traces back to her. Now Alex has a problem: he must silence Alicia, but cannot expose her without being discredited by his fellow Nazis. Alex discusses the situation with his mother (Leopoldine Konstantin), who suggests that Alicia “die slowly” by poisoning. The poison is initially mixed into Alicia’s coffee, and she quickly falls ill. Devlin becomes alarmed when she fails to appear at their next rendezvous. After driving to Sebastian’s house, he sneaks into Alicia’s quarters, where she tells him that Alex and his mother are poisoning her. After confessing his love for her, Devlin carries her out of the mansion in full view of the conspirators. Alex privately begs to go with them, but they abandon him to the non-existent mercy of the Nazis, who had previously disposed of another co-conspirator for a far lesser indiscretion.

Lifeboat

  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Producers: Kenneth Macgowan
  • Writers: Novella, John Steinbeck, Screenplay, Jo Swerling, Uncredited, Ben Hecht
  • Genres: Thriller, War
  • Actors: Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak, Mary Anderson, John Hodiak, Henry Hull, Heather Angel, Hume Cronyn, Canada Lee

Several American and British civilians are stuck in a lifeboat after their ship and a U-boat sink each other in combat. Willi (Walter Slezak), a German survivor, is pulled aboard and denies being an enemy officer. During an animated debate, Kovac (John Hodiak) demands the German be thrown out and allowed to drown. Cooler heads prevail with Garrett (Hume Cronyn) asserting the German’s prisoner of war status and he is allowed to stay.

Kovac takes charge, rationing the little food and water they have; but Willi gradually takes control away from him and is later revealed to be the U-boat captain. One morning, while the others are sleeping, the injured German-American Gus Smith (William Bendix) catches Willi drinking water from a hidden flask. Too delirious and weak to wake anybody up, Gus is pushed overboard by Willi and drowns while the others sleep. Upon waking, the others discover Gus missing and Willi is questioned. When they notice that the Nazi is sweating, the other passengers discover the hoarded flask in his jacket. In a spasm of anger they beat him up and throw him overboard, striking him multiple times to prevent him from reboarding. Musing on Willi’s treachery, Rittenhouse (Henry Hull) asks, “What do you do with people like that?”

The survivors are subsequently spotted by the German supply ship to which Willi had been steering them. Before a launch can pick them up, both are sunk by an Allied warship. A frightened young German seaman is pulled aboard the lifeboat and the passengers argue about keeping him or throwing him overboard to drown. The rescued seaman brandishes a gun and after being disarmed asks, “Aren’t you going to kill me?”. Kovac repeats, “What are you going do with people like that?”

The Birds

  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Producers: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Writers: Short story, Daphne du Maurier, Screenplay, Evan Hunter
  • Genres: Horror, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette, Veronica Cartwright

Beautiful and young Melanie Daniels (“Tippi” Hedren), a wealthy socialite whose father is an owner of a large newspaper, visits a San Francisco pet shop to pick up a myna bird she has ordered for her aunt. There, Melanie meets Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor), a lawyer who is looking for a pair of lovebirds to give to his young sister. Mitch sees Melanie and then pretends to mistake her for a salesperson. Melanie acts out the role believing that she’s fooling Mitch until he reveals that he knew all along that she was not a salesperson of birds. Melanie, infuriated, inquires as to the reason for Mitch’s behavior and he then mentions a previous encounter that he had with her in court when he had first seen her.

Intrigued by him, she buys the lovebirds and finds the address for Mitch’s home in Bodega Bay, a small coastal village up the Pacific coast. Melanie drives to Bodega Bay and delivers the birds by sneaking across the small harbor in a motor boat to the Brenner residence. Melanie walks right into the house and leaves the birds on a foot stool with a note. As Melanie is heading back across the bay, Mitch observes her through a pair of binoculars, then circles around the bay in his car to meet her. Just as she is about to pull up to the dock, a seagull swoops down and gashes her head.

Melanie and Mitch’s family ultimately take refuge in Mitch’s house, boarding up the doors and windows. In the evening when everyone else is asleep, Melanie hears noises from the upper floor. She investigates a closed door only to find that the birds have broken through the roof. They attack her, sealing her in the room until Mitch comes to her rescue. Lydia and Mitch bandage Melanie’s wounds, but determine she must get to a hospital. In a surreal and apocalyptic scene, a sea of landed birds ripples menacingly around them as they leave the house, but do not attack. The car radio (the uncredited announcer is Ken Ackerman, longtime San Francisco radio personality) gives reports of several smaller attacks by birds in a few other communities in coastal California. The sea of birds parts as they slowly proceed toward the road and pick up speed. The film concludes with the four driving away from the farm, down the coast road and out of sight, as thousands of birds watch them.

Rope

  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Producers: Alfred Hitchcock, Sidney Bernstein
  • Writers: Play, Patrick Hamilton, Adaptation, Hume Cronyn, Screenplay, Arthur Laurents, Ben Hecht
  • Genres: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger, Cedric Hardwicke, Constance Collier

On a late afternoon, two brilliant young aesthetes, Brandon Shaw (John Dall) and Phillip Morgan (Farley Granger) murder a former classmate, David Kentley (Dick Hogan), in their apartment.

After hiding the body in a large antique wooden chest, Brandon and Phillip host a dinner party at the apartment which has a beautiful panoramic view of the city skyline (in what appears to be Manhattan). The guests, unaware of what has happened, include the victim’s father (Cedric Hardwicke) and aunt (Constance Collier) (his mother is not able to attend), as well as his fiancee, Janet Walker (Joan Chandler) and her former lover Kenneth Lawrence (Douglas Dick), who was once a close friend of David’s. In a subtle move, Brandon uses the chest containing the body as a buffet for the food, just before their maid, Mrs. Wilson (Edith Evanson) arrives to help with the party. “Now the fun begins,” Brandon says when the first of the guests arrives.

Brandon’s and Phillip’s idea for the murder was inspired years earlier by conversations with their erstwhile prep-school housemaster, publisher Rupert Cadell (James Stewart). While at school, Rupert had discussed with them, in an apparently approving way, the intellectual concepts of the Гњbermensch and the art of murder, a means of showing one’s superiority over others. He too is among the guests at the party since Brandon in particular feels that he would very likely approve of their so-called work of art.

As the sky outside the apartment darkens into night, the sirens of police cars can be heard heading their way.

Dial M for Murder

  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Producers: Associate producer, William Hill, Uncredited, Alfred Hitchcock
  • Writers: Stage play amp screenplay, Frederick Knott
  • Genres: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings, John Williams, Anthony Dawson

Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) is a former tennis player who married Margot (Grace Kelly) partly for her money. To please his wife, he has given up tennis and now sells sports equipment. Margot once had a relationship with Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings), an American crime novelist, but broke it off when Mark went to the U.S. for a year. In time, they stopped writing to each other.

Tony and Margot have made their wills, naming each other as beneficiary. For a year, Tony meticulously plans Margot’s murder. She has no idea that Tony knows of her love for Mark. He has gone to great lengths to steal a handbag containing one of Mark’s letters, and even assumed the role of an anonymous Brixton-based blackmailer to find out whether she would pay to have it back. (She did, but he asked for only ВЈ50.) He even watched them having a little farewell party (eating spaghetti with mushrooms) in Mark’s studio flat in Chelsea.

Tony slyly withdraws small amounts of money for a year, collecting ВЈ1,000 in (used) one-pound notes, with which he plans to pay a contract killer. He singles out the perfect man to do the job: C. A. Swann (Anthony Dawson), who now calls himself “Captain Lesgate”, a former acquantaince who has embarked on a life of petty crime since even before leaving Cambridge where he and Tony were both students. By following him and finding out about his past and associations, Tony soon gets enough to blackmail Swann into murdering his wife.

Tony enters the room to find Margot and the inspector, and Mark too. He realizes he’s been found out and congratulates the inspector. He then offers everyone a drink, acting very casual, as tears begin to stream down his wife’s face. The last scene is of the inspector, acting in a manner that shows he’s proud of himself, as he combs his mustache.