The Lighthouse presents six films showcasing icy blondes, blackly comic moments, pure cinema suspense sequences, and director cameos in a season of films spanning over twenty years of Hitchcock’s career.
North by Northwest
Wednesday, September 19th 20:30
Sunday, September 23rd 15:30
Hitchcock and screenwriter Ernest Lehman abandoned a fruitless novel adaptation for a story dazzlingly showcasing scenes Hitchcock had always longed to film; a murder at the United Nations, a man attacked by a crop-duster in an empty landscape. Cary Grant’s MadMan (cough) Roger O Thornhill, a man as hollow as his affected middle initial, blunders into spymaster Leo G Carroll’s elaborate ruse and is ruthlessly and lethally pursued across America by the sinister James Mason and his clinging henchman Martin Landau, all the while dallying with their dangerous associate Eva Marie Saint. Hitchcock’s preoccupations were never explored more enjoyably…
Wednesday, September 26th 20:30
Sunday, September 30th 15:30
Hitchcock’s last British film adapted Daphne Du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn, and his American debut tackled her magnum opus, and won Best Picture at the Oscars. Timid unnamed narrator Joan Fontaine is rescued from employment as a companion to an old battleaxe by marriage to the dashing Max De Wynter (Laurence Olivier). When they return to his mansion Manderley, however, she finds herself haunted by the memories of his dead wife Rebecca, continually pressed on her by Judith Anderson’s malevolent housekeeper Mrs Danvers, and Rebecca’s rakish cousin, the great George Sanders. Competing with a dead woman for Max’s affections leads to tragedy…
Wednesday, October 3rd 20:30
Sunday, October 7th 15:30
Hitchcock’s 1946 movie has a vaunted reputation but is hard-going in its initial stages as the daughter of a spy, Ingrid Bergman, is recruited by a government agent, Cary Grant, to infiltrate a cabal of wealthy Nazis who have relocated to South America. Bergman succeeds all too well with an eminent Nazi, a deliciously sympathetic Claude Rains, arousing her hander’s jealousy. A maguffin involving smuggled uranium is an excuse for a tour de force shot in which Hitch zooms down across a crowded party to focus on a tiny key in Bergman’s hand, a suspenseful sequence key to a stunning finale.
Wednesday, October 10th 20:30
Sunday, October 14th 15:30
Hitchcock’s 1958 magnum opus recently toppled Citizen Kane from its perch as the ‘greatest film ever made.’ Hitchcock burned money perfecting the dolly-in zoom-out effect so crucial for depicting Jimmy Stewart’s titular fear; which Spielberg cheekily appropriated it for one show-off shot in Jaws. The twisted plot from the French novelists behind Les Diaboliques is played brilliantly by the increasingly unhinged Stewart, Kim Novak as the anguished blonde he becomes obsessed with, and a young Barbara Bel Geddes as the friend who tries to keep him grounded. Visually gorgeous, lushly scored, and dripping pure cinema sequences without any dialogue – see this.
Wednesday, October 17th 20:30
Sunday, October 21st 15:30
Hitchcock’s low budget 1960 classic boasted one of the drollest trailers imaginable and his direction is equally parodic in the first act, with its sinister traffic-cops and endless car plates, because Hitchcock relished investing the audience in a shaggy-dog story which sets up a number of prolonged blackly comic sequences as well as some chilling suspense. Anthony Perkins’s Norman Bates emerges as a terrific resonant villain, especially in the chilling final scene scored by Bernard Hermann with full-on Schoenbergian atonal serialism. The shower scene with Janet Leigh being slashed to Hermann’s bravura stabbing violins orchestration remains an iconic ‘pure cinema’ scare.
Wednesday, October 24th 20:30
Sunday, October 28th 15:30
Hitchcock spun out Daphne Du Maurier’s short story which had been inspired by her simple thought when watching a flock wheel towards her over a field, “What if they attacked?,” into an unsettling and bloody film. Socialite Tippi Hedren’s pursuit of the judgemental lawyer Rod Taylor to his idyllic small town on the bay seems to cause the local birds to turn homicidal, but don’t look for explanations – just enjoy the slow-burn to the bravura attacks. Watch out for Alien’s Veronica Cartwright as Taylor’s young sister, and a bar stool philosophiser allegedly modelled on Hitchcock’s bruising encounters with Sean O’Casey…
Tickets can be booked at the Lighthouse’s website (www.lighthousecinema.ie), and, as with the just finished Film Noir season there is also a special season pass available only at the box office; which allows you see six films for only €36.