Since I was a child, I used to enjoy watching films on TV or being taken to the cinema to see a good one in the company of my father and sister, most of the times. I must confess that I became sort of hooked on films and the stories behind them so whenever there was a film on TV late at night, I reluctantly submitted to go to bed.
As we have been talking about plot devices which help develop great stories, we can undoubtedly highlight the figure of Alfred Hitchcock, who was the master in creating suspense and made us stick to our chairs from the very beginning of a film to its end.
It would be an extremely difficult issue to decide on a single film that I could consider my favourite one –there are lots of them and for various reasons. But just to name a few:
The Birds and Psycho for being such hair-raising films that I’ve never been able to see again –I saw The Birds at the age of 10 and I’m still scared.
The Man Who Knew Too Much and Rear Window for those intriguing moments James Stewart made us live.
North by Northwest or Vertigo as the nail-biting suspense masterpieces and the ones you can become scared stiff.
Marnie and Rebecca, two women’s names for two romantic stories.
To Catch A Thief and Dial M for Murder, where we can appreciate Grace Kelly's innately elegant style.
The Trouble with Harry as the funniest one.
The list is endless: Jamaica Inn, The 39 Steps, Torn Curtain, Shadow of A Doubt, The Paradine Case, Rope, … In all these films we can note the plot devices we’ve been checking lately –the plot voucher, the locked room, the MacGuffin, deus ex machina, … Alfred Hitchcock perfectly knew what he was doing. And here’s a video with one of his special characteristics. What was it?
I must admit to a certain fondness for a film which, by the way, we mentioned in class some days ago, and that’s why I’ll comment on a classic, another Alfred Hitchcock’s “must” that immediately springs to my mind, Rebecca.
As you may know, Rebecca was a film adaptation of the namesake novel by Daphne du Maurier. Two years after having written her story (1938) achieved her greatest recognition through this outstanding film, which won two Oscars (Best Film and Best Picture) despite having been nominated in 11 categories.
I won’t tell you much of the plot in case you still haven’t seen it. However incredible it may sound, the secret of its success relies on the following facts. The whole story is told by a naïve young woman (Joan Fontaine) whose name we never know, and only when she marries Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier), a handsome and rich widower, she becomes, of course, Mrs de Winter. However, this causes confusion since there are constant references to the first Mrs de Winter, Rebecca, who seemed to be the narrator’s counterpart and who everyone thought had drowned in the sea near Manderley, the old mansion where they live. Throughout 130 minutes, the past becomes the present, and the omnipresent Rebecca together with the diehard, her devoted housekeeper, Mrs Danvers (Judith Anderson) rule the whole film in a dramatically tense atmosphere.
It was such an impact the one created by the main character that here in Spain, we started naming the cardigan Joan Fontaine wore as “rebeca”.
Well, I think Rebecca is a film you can’t miss.
All in all, I’ve always liked films and all the industry around them –actors and actresses, directors, stories behind the film scenes, clothes and props, … Not only because they make you live and dream of other experiences by being in the main character’s shoes, but also because you can always learn something new or, at least, realise how different the world can be.
So, it’s your turn now! Which blockbusters can you think of now? Do you feel like writing about a film or a book you waxed euphoric about?
Go ahead!!! All your comments are welcome.