Top of the World: Exploring some of my favourite Hitchcock film scenes!

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Oh, Hitchcock, good old Hitchcock. What would be The Wonderful World of Cinema without any discussions about his films? Well, it’s been a long time since we didn’t have one and Maddy’s Third Hitchcock Blogathon that she is hosting on her blog Maddy Loves Her Classic Films seems to be the perfect occasion for that. As a matter of fact, the blogathon is already over and I’m just super late…. This year, I’ve decided to do something fun and, instead of talking about one film in particular, I’ve decided to share with you some of my most favourite Hitchcock film scenes. I’ve selected a total of 19. There could have been many more, but the problem with Hitchcock is that I always have too much to say and I didn’t want to write a 10 000 words article either!

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I’ve decided not to include scenes that I had already discussed on my blog in other top lists. If you want to find more of my favourites, I invite you to check these links where some of Hitchcock’s best scenes are discussed. They are favourite as well, but I don’t want to repeat myself too much:

Dreaming in Hitchcock Movies

15 Opening Scenes in Film Noir

15 Opening scenes + 1

These scenes won’t be presented to you in order of preference, because I was not exactly sure how to rank that. Instead, I’ve decided to place them in chronological order. Maybe it would help us see Hitchcock’s evolution! Somehow.

The main trick to choose these scenes is to go spontaneously. I think what we like the most is usually what we remember the best. I also have to think about the fact that these are scenes I could watch over and over.

These are scenes I love for various reasons. It can be because of their narrative lines, their visual content, some technical brilliance, etc. I’ll try to explain as best as I can why they are great favourites. Yes, this article contains spoilers, but I’ll indicate them as I am a nice person.

If there’s a scene you love from Hitchcock films that is not on this list it’s not because I don’t like it myself! There are so many I could have included but I obviously had to make choices. I could also use the “I might not have seen this film” but in Hitchcock’s case, it’s not a very valid excuse as I’ve seen a great majority of them, including most of his obscure British ones (Oh, wait. I’m sorry if I don’t include a scene from Champagne! or Easy Virtue…). Of course, this list remains very subjective and concerns only my own tastes.

Finally, to make this as varied as possible, I’ve decided to include a maximum of one scene/film. For some films, this wasn’t easy!

Some of these scene are quite famous, some are less.

Let’s go!

1- “You might have cut somebody” (Blackmail, 1929)

Blackmail had the particularity to be the first talking picture released in the UK. And of all the people it was Hitchcock who directed it! It stars Czech actress Anny Ondra (who was dubbed by British actress Joan Barry due to her strong accent). The crucial scene of the film happens when her character, Alice Barry, is being assaulted by Mr. Crewe (Cyril Ritchard). During the rape attempt, she manages to kill him with a bread knife that happened to be one the nightstand next to the bed. But the scene I’m referring to as a favourite isn’t this one. Alice is obviously afraid to be caught for murder and, therefore, stress constantly dominates her. Despite the serious central subject, my favourite scene is, in fact, one that reflects perfectly Hitchcock’s dark humour. Alice’s father (Charles Paton) owns a tobacco shop. The family is having dinner in the part of the store that happens to be their home and one gossipy woman (Phyllis Monkman) comes to tell them about the murder. She constantly repeats the word “knife” which obviously gets on Alice’s nerves. When her father asks her to cut some bread, she slowly picks the knife, her hand shaking. The woman is still talking about the murder and suddenly she repeats the word “knife!” very spontaneously which makes Alice jump. Consequently, the knife jumps off her hand as well. In front of the situation, her father tells her “Here! You ought to be more careful. You might have cut somebody with that.” Of course, Mr. White doesn’t know anything about what happened to Alice which sort of make his reply an unconscious reference to her “murder”. And poor Alice, she really is in a bad situation but I can’t help laughing when I see her drop the knife like that. It’s just the way it happens and how the woman repeats “knife… knife…” that makes the whole thing quite absurd.

2- The vaudevill-style opening scene (Rich and Strange, 1931)

I had already spoken about this scene in my complete review of Rich and Strange. I think it is quite unique in the Hitchcockian filmography. Narratively, it’s quite ordinary: a man, Fred Hill (Henry Kendall) takes the subway to get home from work. So far, nothing very extraordinary about this. But it’s the way it is executed that makes the whole thing highly interesting. This scene, in fact, reminds us of one we could find in a silent Chaplinesque comedy. Everything happens very rapidly as if the film was fast forwarded and there aren’t any dialogues. Fred Hill is revealed to be a clumsy character (his umbrella won’t open, he accidentally tear off a feather on a woman’s hat in the subway, etc). And the people are reacting between themselves by making faces instead of exchanging dialogues. It’s a chaotic scene but it gives a very dynamic beginning to the film. Unfortunately, Rich and Strange wasn’t a commercial nor a critical success on its released. Hitchcock himself believed it should have had a better success, which is another reason that should urge you to see it.

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3- The Drummer Man (Young and Innocent, 1937) [spoilers]

Well, I’ve got to admit it. I think this is my favourite scene of the whole Hitchcock filmography. It’s just brilliant on every level. In this scene, the identity of Christine Clay (Pamela Carme)’s real murderer is being revealed. Robert Tisdall (Derrick De Marney) is falsely accused because he happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong moment. He is being helped by Erica Burgoyne (Nova Pilbeam), the local police Chief Constable (Percy Marmont)’s daughter and by Old Will (Edward Rigby), a tramp. Those twos find themselves in a chic restaurant where the murderer might very well be. They have to look for a man with eyes twitching. They arrive, take a seat and what happens next is just mind-blowing. The camera makes an establishing shot of the dining room. A jazz band is playing a song called “The Drummer Man”. The camera moves to get closer to the band and gets closer and closer to the drummer’s face. When the camera finally focuses on the drummer’s eyes, these suddenly twitch. Not only the murderer his being identified by the spectator, but everything is settled to put the emphasis on him. Indeed, the singer sings “I’m right here to tell you, mister, no one can like the drummer man!” He clearly tells (without realising it) to Erica and Old Will that the man they are looking for is just right in front of them. When the drummer recognizes Old Will, he knows he’s doomed. The way the camera in this scene gets from an ensemble shot to a close up is executed in a most fascinating way. It focuses on a huge clue in the most precise way there is.

4- Looking for Miss Froy in the luggage wagon (The Lady Vanishes, 1938)

It was difficult to choose a single scene from The Lady Vanishes as it is my favourite Hitchcock film! But I’ve decided to go with one that exploits both elements that make me highly appreciate this film: its humour and its suspense. In this scene, Gilbert (Michael Redgrave) and Iris (Margaret Lockwood) are searching for Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty) a little old woman who mysteriously disappeared while Iris was sleeping. The film takes place aboard a train. Therefore, there aren’t endless places to look for. So, they arrive in the luggage wagon. A lot is revealed in this scene. After a bit of humour when Iris and Gilbert discuss on how they could find Miss Froy, they find her glasses on the floor but Doppo (Philip Leaver) the magician arrives on the scene to take it from them. A battle against him and Gilbert ensues and Iris tries to help her friend the best she can. They lock him in a trunk but he escape as it is a tricked trunk. Iris and Gilbert know that Miss Froy’s disappearance is something serious. I love this scene for its humour, its action and because it’s one of the first moments where Gilbert finally decides to help Iris finding her friend. Despite their initial opposition, they now work like a true winning team and who knows, might manage to save Miss Froy together!

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5- Arriving in Manderley (Rebecca, 1940)

The dream sequence “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”, might be the most iconic sequence of Rebecca and I have talked about it in my article on dreams in Hitchcock films. But, one that has always amazed me is the one when the new Mrs. De Winter (Joan Fontaine) discovers with which kind of house and people she’ll have to deal with during her new married life. She and her new husband, Maxim DeWinter (Laurence Olivier) arrive by car on the domain. They pass the gate and it starts raining. So far, nothing extraordinary. They then pass the forest and the house, I mean the PALACE, is finally revealed to Mrs. De Winter. I love Joan Fontaine’s reaction in that. Her character knew about the famous Manderley but surely didn’t expect it to look so imposing once next to it. They then get off the car and meet Frith (Edward Fielding), the butler. Mrs. De Winter gives him a firm handshake and seems confident but when she enters the mansion to discover that the whole staff is here to welcome her and Maxim, we guess that she, once again, feels small and intimidated by the situation. Joan Fontaine’s acting is very effective in this scene and creates a strong contrast with Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson), the governess, who’s clearly not so pleased to see a newcomer. You know the rest…

6- Full report (Foreign Correspondent, 1940) [spoiler]

Foreign Correspondent is this kind of film that almost makes you want to become a reporter, even if it involves some (major) risks. The scene I’ve chosen reveals the cunning of our reporter Huntley Haverstock/John Jones (Joel McCrea). He has now managed to survive many misadventures during a trip in Europe for a reportage on the imminent war (the 2nd one), including a murder attempt against him and a plane crash. Now aboard a ship that has saved him and the other survivors of the crash from eventually drowning in the sea, he is ready to send a full report of the situation to his employer, Mr. Powers (Henry Davenport). However, the captain of the Mohican (Emory Parnell) refuses to let them send their story via the boat. But Jones and his acolytes, Carol Fisher (Laraine Day) and Ffolliott (George Sanders) elaborate a plan to send it anyway. Jones calls Mr. Powers and tells him to “listen carefully”. He places the phone on a shelf and when the captain enters the room to once again told them what not to do, he tells him everything that happened and what they had to go through. And all this time, Mr. Powers is, of course, listening (and is very satisfied with his reporter’s good work). When the captain realizes there’s someone on the phone, Jones simply tells him that it’s his uncle. The story is now ready for the American newspaper! Well, the main reason why I love this scene is that it’s so satisfying. There’s a lot of things going wrong in the film for the characters, but, for once, something is accomplished with success. Jones is a clever character.

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7- Chaos in the movie theatre (Saboteur, 1942)

There are many good scenes in Saboteur that involves the villain, Frank Frye. The one people will remember the most is probably the final scene on the Liberty Statue. Another one, however, that I think is very well thought is a short sequence a movie theatre. Basically, saboteur Frank Frye has now managed to make a big boat explode. Now being purchased, he enters in a movie theatre where a film is being screened. He finds himself next to the screen and when one of the characters in the film shoots his gun, he does the same and “accidentally” reaches one of the spectators in the audience. This one falls on his wife’s who first thinks he’s joking. It doesn’t take long to discover that her husband has been shot and by a real person, with a real bullet, not by an on-screen character. Chaos in the theatre now starts. I love this scene for the idea that the film character’s actions reflect those of Frank Frye. There’s very well-thought coordination in all that. Interestingly, the man shooting in the film is played by Emory Parnell who played the captain in the Foreign Correspondent scene we’ve just discussed.

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8- Meeting the big boat (Lifeboat, 1944)

Lifeboat is a film where the acting takes place on a lifeboat. During the whole story, the English passengers have to deal with stress, hunger and a Nazi enemy whom they saved from the water not knowing he was a man from the opposite side. After wandering for a while in the ocean without any other signs of life at the horizon, they eventually reach a German ration boat. It starts advancing towards them and we are only anticipating the worst. This big monster appears as a very menacing entity that we are afraid will crush the tiny lifeboat in which the group of survivors is. The stress is increased as it gets closer and closer. When it finally reaches the lifeboat, it doesn’t bump into it but passes very close to it and it is seen from the character points of view, in an imposing low angle shot. The fact that it’s a black and white film makes the whole thing very lugubrious.

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9- J. B’s insomnia (Spellbound, 1945)

I have talked about this scene in other articles about Spellbound but it deserves to be mentioned again. Dr. Constance Peterson (Ingrid Bergman) and her patient J.B (Gregory Peck) are spending the night at Dr. Brulov (Michael Chekhov)’s place to whom they made believe they are married. Dr. Peterson doesn’t want to tell him that J.B is researched for murder. Anyway, J.B. has a mental case that Dr. Peterson has given herself the mission to cure. She believes he isn’t guilty of the crime he’s accused of and that’s why she wants to help him (she’s also in love with him). J.B. suffers from amnesia and is scared of the colour white, and more precisely of stripes on a white surface. In this scene, we are in the middle of the night and J.B. gets up as he apparently has trouble sleeping. He goes in the white bright bathroom and starts mixing shaving cream, but when he realizes the bright white atmosphere by which he is surrounded, he is terrified. Fast editing shows each element of the white furniture in the bathroom, and the contrast with J.B.’s terrorized facial expression. He gets out of the bathroom and the camera moves to Constance’s bed which is covered with a white blanket. During this sequence, Miklos Rozsa’s score is of great importance and is sorts of creates a choreography with the image. It accentuates the feeling of danger and menace.

10- The end for Alexander Sebastian (Notorious, 1946) [spoiler]

The end of Notorious really is sweet revenge from Devlin (Cary Grant) and Alicia (Ingrid Bergman). This one who has married Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains), a Nazi who has escaped to Brazil, in order to spy on him, has been discovered by him and his mother (Leopoldine Konstantin). They decided to get rid of Alicia by poisoning her. Agonizing in bed, the government agent and her lover Devlin arrives to rescue her. However, if Sebastian’s Nazi friends discover the truth about Alicia, they will likely kill him. Nazis weren’t exactly people with a lot of pity… So, Devlin goes down the stairs carrying Alicia, now very weak due to the poison effect, to take her to the hospital. Sebastian’s friends are wondering what’s happening and Sebastian pretends it isn’t a big deal and that she is just feeling bad and has to go to the hospital. He can’t possibly create suspicions by telling them he has been poisoning his wife! When they get to Devlin’s car, Alicia enters in it and Devlin follows her. He quickly closes the door and locks it to prevent Alexander to get in. Aha! That’ll teach you! The instant after is a shocking one as Alexander goes back in the house where his Nazi “friend” Eric Mathis (Ivan Triesault) tells him “Alex, will you come in, please? I wish to talk to you.” Alex doesn’t even try to escape and enters the house, the door his closed behind him. It’s now up to us to imagine what would happen to him. This ending is great because it is executed in a very precise and well-calculated way, and it’s mostly unforgettable.

11- Getting to the amusement park: Guy vs. Bruno (Strangers On a Train)

This isn’t really a single scene, but more a sequence of various short scenes that form a narrative entity. As much as the carousel scene is impressive for its technical aspects, this sequence might be my favourite part of the film. I, of course, love the suspense involved and the alternative editing between the scenes involving Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker) and those involving Guy Haines (Farley Granger). Bruno now has to go back to the amusement park to put back Guy’s lighter on the island where he (Bruno) murdered Guy’s wife, Miriam (Laura Elliot/Kasey Rogers). If the police find Guy’s lighter on the scene of the crime he would be the one accused and not Bruno. Guy knows about Bruno’s intentions and has to get to the amusement park before Bruno to stop him. Only, being a professional tennis player, he has to play a match. He, his girlfriend Anne (Ruth Roman) and Anne’s sister Barbara (Patricia Hitchcock) elaborate a plan so he can escape the police that is watching him (he is suspected of having murdered his wife after all) and go to the island.  The scenes of Guy playing tennis are shown alternately with Bruno being on his way to the amusement park. At one point, as much as we want Guy to get there and win the battle against Bruno, we are, for a moment, guilty of  taking Bruno’s side. I’ll explain: on his way, Bruno drops the lighter in a manhole and his stubborn enough to try to get it back without even opening it. And we do want him to take it back. As a matter of fact, Hitchcock often plays on the spectators’ psychology like that. Another good example would be in Psycho when Norman Bates make his victim’s car sink in the pond. When this one stops sinking, we mentally hope it will completely disappear in the pond. Our subconscious wants a little victory for the villain.

12- The murder attempt (Dial M for Murder, 1954) [spoiler]

When Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) blackmails a man by the name of Swann (Anthony Dawson) to murder his wife Margot (Grace Kelly) on the account that she’s having a love affair with writer Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings) (and that he would inherit her fortune anyway), he didn’t expect things to turn so badly. The murder scene is THE plot twist by excellence. Swann attempts to strangle Margot but she manages to grab a pair of scissors and stab it in his back to kill him in self-defense. Complications ensue, especially when Margot is accused of murder. She, however, had never met Swann before. And we, the spectators, know that her husband is behind all that. François Truffaut said of Hitchcock that he “filmed scenes of love as if they were scenes of murder and scenes of murder as if they were scenes of love.” (Grace Kelly – Movie Icon). There’s indeed something very passionate in the execution of this gone wrong murder attempt. The work of the camera and fast editing showing us the situation on various angles are masterworks and a premise to what we’ll find in Psycho‘s shower scene later. Dial M for Murder was Grace Kelly’s first film with Hitchcock and I believe this is the one where she was given the best opportunity to prove her acting talent. If she was often playing socialite and distinguished lady, Dial M for Murder gives her a certain vulnerability and only makes her human. Just after she manages to kill her aggressor, she speaks with Tony (who was listening the whole time – don’t forget he’s the one who planned it) and tries to explain what happened. She cries and is just like a helpless little girl. Finally, Dial M for Murder was originally shot in 3D. I’ve had the chance to see a 3D projection of it in a movie theatre in Montreal. Honestly, it was probably just an exercise of style as it isn’t the type of film that is much impressive in 3D. But for that murder attempt scene, it was pretty worthy. When Grace Kelly’s hand tries to reach the pair of scissors, it is as it was coming out of the screen and trying to grab us. Just as if she was desperately trying to take us in the screen to help her. Incredible!

13- Lisa’s risk (Rear Window, 1954) [spoiler]

If I could choose one film to see for the first time again, I think I would go with Rear Window. The feeling it gave me when I first watched it is quite indescribable, especially in this scene when Jeff (James Stewart)’s girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly) gets into Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr)’s house. She, Jeff and the nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter) suspect him to have killed his wife. And Lisa’s risk is one of the most stressful scenes of the film, especially when Lars actually arrives in the house and discovers an intruder in it. The most stressful thing about it is the fact that Jeff cannot go help her as he is in a wheelchair and Stella can’t really either. It might sound weird to say that a stressful scene is a favourite but any scene that is able to provoke never felt before feelings is good for me. Of course, the whole confrontation between Lisa and Thorwald is seen from Jeff’s apartment point of view and also heard from there, which makes the set of  Rear Window one of the most interesting ones Hitchcock had worked on.

14- John Robie and Frances Stevens running away from the police (To Catch a Thief, 1955)

The sad thing about this scene is that it was shot on the exact same road where Grace Kelly lost her life (and her character isn’t necessarily a very careful driver). But, if we put that aside, it has to be one of the best scenes of To Catch a Thief. Cary Grant plays John Robie, a former thief who is once again accused of having stolen jewels after a wave of burglary. He is innocent, however. He believes he can unmask the new cat by catching him in the act and it’s through of H. H. Hughson (John Williams) that he meets Jessie Stevens (Jessie Royce Landis) and her daughter Frances (Grace Kelly) who are rich American tourists taking a vacation on the French Riviera. One day, he and Frances go on a picnic. They are on their way in Frances’s beautiful blue convertible car. She isn’t supposed to know he is wanted for burglary but she is, in fact, quite wily. When John discovers they are being purchased by the police, he suggests her to accelerate so they get to the picnic area faster (yeah, right). Frances agrees and spins across the picturesque and beautiful road. Poor John tries not to share his anxiety too much (especially when she drives very fast next to a cliff). They manage to get away from the police car (who was stopped by a chicken who was crossing the road. And these policemen are often ridiculed which is pretty amusing). But remember, France is not supposed to know they were actually running away from the police, and that the man she is taking to a picnic is John Robie. The dialogue that follows is gold:

John Robie: Hey, slow down.

Frances Steven: And let them catch us?

John Robie: Let who catch us?

Frances Steven: The police, in the black car. The ones that were following you.

John Robie: I don’t know what you’re talking about. The police following me?

Frances Steven: Yes, the police following you, John Robie, the cat!

I just love Grace Kelly’s intonation when she says that, and also Cary Grant’s reaction. Well, now we know that she knows!

And this scene has one of my most a favourite shots of Grace Kelly ever. Fab and beautiful!

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15- At the Albert Hall (The Man Who Knew Too Much, 1956) [spoiler]

The Albert Hall sequence from The Man Who Knew Too Much is one of the reasons why Hitchcock is being called The Master of Suspense. The anticipation is strong here. Jo McKenna (Doris Day) knows that the Foreign Prime Minister (Alexis Bobrinskoy) is going to be killed and we, the spectator knows this will happen during a crash of cymbals. The whole sequence has no dialogue. Instead, it’s the music speaking and giving us clues on what would happen in a few instants. And this gun being revealed behind the curtains: terrifying!

16- Plane attack (North by Northwest, 1959)

Well, the Mount Rushmore or the train sequence might be favourite scenes in North by Northwest but, in my opinion, they don’t top the plane sequence. Something interesting to observe is that this scene doesn’t include any music. Actually, it is so visually intense that it doesn’t need any orchestral music to accentuate that intensity. I mean, it’s pretty ironic since some of the scenes in the film where nothing THAT extraordinary happens are accentuated with dynamic and glorious music. That sequence where Cary Grant is being attacked by a plane also impressed for the fact that parts of it were shot in a studio and honestly it doesn’t show that much, except maybe for one shot. It’s very well made. I’ve seen this film on the big screen which made the whole thing even more impressive. This shot has to be one of the best shot in the whole movie history. It also became the film’s signature.

17- Meeting Mrs. Bates (Psycho, 1960) [spoiler]

Surely the first scene we think about when discussing Psycho is without the shadow of a doubt (see what I did there?) the now iconic shower scene. Yes, it’s an impressive and highly shocking scene, perhaps the most famous one of Hitchcock’s whole filmography. However, it’s not the only one that makes this film such an unforgettable picture. The one I’ve chosen is, in fact, the ultimate climax, the one where the truth about Norman Bates and his mother is revealed to us. I love the surprise effect this scene has, Vera Miles scream is as good as Janet Leigh’s one (perhaps even better) and it’s, in a way, John Gavin’s moment of glory. To make a short story, we have seen Marion being brutally murdered in the motel shower by what seemed to be an old woman (Norman’s mother??). Later, a detective (Martin Balsam) goes on the place to investigate and is murdered by the same old woman. Worried not to receive any news, Marion’s sister Lila (Vera Miles) and Marion’s boyfriend Sam (John Gavin) go on the place themselves where they meet Norman Bates and suspect something queer about him and the whole situation. Lila wants to talk to Mrs. Bates (despite Norman’s refusal) and goes in the house to find her. Her exploration of the place finally leads her to the basement, where Mrs. Bates is sitting on a chair, her back facing Lila. This one touches her shoulder to have her attention and she turns like an old doll to reveal a now dead body, as a matter of fact, decomposed since a long time. Lila’s scream is loud enough to alert the whole motel (wait, there aren’t anybody except her, Sam and Norman). As she screams, Norman enters the room with a knife, disguised as an old woman, ready to kill someone once again. Because yes, all this time, whom we thought was Mrs. Bates killing people was, in fact, Norman disguised as an old lady. Her mother (whom he “preserved”) was dead for a long time. Luckily, Sam Loomis arrives just on time to save Lila. This scene is so intense and I love the fact that, when Lila discovers the truth about Norman, she doesn’t continue to scream, but just stares at him with big surprised eyes. I think many people would be speechless in front of such a surprising situation. Bernard Herrmann’s score has an important role to play in Psycho, and the music here sounds like an alarm, accentuating the intensity of the scene.

18- Attack in the attic (The Birds, 1963)

The Birds was the first Hitchcock film I ever saw and the experience of watching it for the first time was something completely spellbinding. It was like nothing I had seen before and I instantly knew I was seeing the work of a true genius. When Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) gets attacked by a horde of birds in the attic and can’t get out, we surely feel helpless observing her suffering like that. We all know this wasn’t an easy scene to shoot for Tippi Hedren as Hitchcock decided to use real birds. At one point, a seagull almost scratched her eyeball which resulted in Tippi having a nervous breakdown. But, has she explains in a making-of documentary, the birds weren’t really attacking her. They were released on her and she had to push them away. The real magic of this scene was created by the editing. This one makes the scene looks so real and scary. As much as this sequence can make you feel uncomfortable, I love it despite that because it really made me understand the importance of good editing.

19- The murderer forgot his tie (Frenzy, 1972) [spoiler]

Frenzy was Hitchcock’s last British film and surely an underrated one. Personnally, it has always been a huge favourite of mine. No, as much as I love the murder attempt scene in Dial M for Murder, the rape and murder of Brenda Blaney (Barbara Leigh-Hunt) isn’t my favourite scene of the film. Not at all. But it is an important one as it reveals to us who the tie murderer is: Bob Rusk (Barry Foster). Eventually, Mrs. Blaney’s ex-husband, Richard (Jon Finch) is accused (false accusations often happen in Hitchcock’s films) and is put in jail. Things get clear in his head and he understands that he has been double-crossed by his supposed friend Bob and that he is, in fact, the one who murdered his ex-wife AND his girlfriend Barbara (Anna Massey). Blaney manages to escape jail and go to Bob’s place to seek revenge. Meanwhile, more clue has been given to the police and Chief Inspector Oxford (Alec McCowen) understands that Bob Rusk is the real murderer and not Richard. This one has now introduced himself in Rusk’s apartment and, seeing what seems to be him sleeping in his bed, he knock him out with a metal bar until he realizes that the person in the bed is just another of Bob’s victim (a naked strangled woman). Seconds after, the inspector arrives and catches Richard on the act. This one wants to explain himself, but the inspector simply tells him to be quiet. Someone is getting up the stairs. Rusk enters his room with a suitcase to discover Richard and Oxford. He isn’t wearing his tie which the inspector makes him notice:

“Mr. Rusk, you’re not wearing your tie.”

This is the end of Rusk as it is now clear for everybody (and not only the spectator) that he is the serial killer. Rusk’s reaction to the detective’s remark and the way he just drops his suitcase is another highly epic and satisfying moment of Hitchcock’s filmography. It’s a brutal but very conclusive ending. Just after the suitcase is being dropped on the floor, the closing credits start with Ron Goodwin’s score who is one of my personal favourites of Hitchcock filmography.

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I’m sorry I was not able to provide clips for all the scenes!

As you can see, Hitchcock film scenes could be discussed forever. But I’m already late for Maddy’s blogathon so we will conclude now. There are many other ones I love and I would surely be glad to read what are some of  YOUR favourite scenes in Hitchcock films.

To read the other entries for the blogathon, click here.

See you!

Alfred-Hitchcock-rocking-out.

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12 thoughts on “Top of the World: Exploring some of my favourite Hitchcock film scenes!

  1. Great one Ginny! Your love of Hitchcock shows here. Not familiar with some of the earlier English films. I know you loved “the lady vanishes” but I thought your favorite Hitchcock was “ the man who knew too much”.

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  2. I really enjoyed reading this, Ginny. Love that Royal Albert Hall sequence in The Man Who Knew Too Much. Agree with you about Dial M For Murder, Strangers On A Train, The Birds, Psycho, Lifeboat, North By Northwest and Notorious. So many of these scenes/sequences are unforgettable. Thanks so much for joining me to celebrate Hitch and his films.

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  3. I know how it is when you have such great admiration and also affection for someone’s work and you can’t stop talking/writing about it. You have certainly found your audience here because this article kept me spellbound (pun intended). Sometimes I will watch a Hitchcock film two or three times in the space of a couple of weeks because he has captured my imagination all over again and I just can’t get enough.

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  4. I didn’t realize Miriam was played by an actor who used two names. (Laura Elliot/Kasey Rogers) and looked her up. She is one of the most disliked of Hitchcock’s nonmurdering fiends. The drummer man scene was superb, but no one has mentioned the notoriety of the use of blackface, which spoiled it for me. Another costume, sich as clowns or soldiers, could have been as effective.

    Lastly, the one time i watched Frenzy, I remember a woman climbing stairs to her doom at the end. It scared me so bad I can’t watch it again.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love these scene Breakdowns Ginnie!!! Some of them are underrated- which makes your take on them much more meaningful! Never underestimate the brilliance of Hitch!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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