Monday, June 7, 2010
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Those chilling words still send shivers racing down my spine from the old television show “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”
Ever since I was a little girl, I loved being scared to death. Nothing could come close to the images the master story teller conjured in my head. Just the sound of those words in barely more than a whisper made my skin crawl. The anticipation of the story he was about to show had my heart racing. I remember glancing around the room to make sure all the curtains were drawn, all the doors locked. My family and I would gather around the television on a Friday evening, lights out with a big bowl of buttered popcorn. And the second the master of suspense’s face would appear on screen, my brother, sister and I would scream loud enough to wake the dead.
Alfred Hitchcock packed it all in his books and movies—chance meetings on a train, murder and mayhem, voyeurism, ice-blondes, debonair actors with a touch of quirky humor and rakish charm, espionage, romance and lost love. And who better befitting to portray the femme fatale of that era than Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman, Kim Novak and Janet Leigh? They were a perfect fit with Hollywood legends as Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart, two of Hitchcock’s favorites.
Few books or movies since the Master’s time have stayed with me or left such jarring images. Although not his best film, I think we all agree that Psycho is his most chilling. The Bates Hotel is such a simple name, who would suspect that such a twisted psychopath lived inside. With a fetish for peeking on guests as they shower, Janet Leigh is about to find out just how twisted Norman Bates is. (Voyeurism at its peak) Just the sound of that screeching violin gets my blood pumping!
Vertigo is another favorite of many Hitchcock fans. Set in the almost dream-like haze of the empty San Francisco streets, Vertigo portrays obsession and lost romance in a surreal manner, a true hallmark of his movies. In this story, Jimmy Stewart pursues Kim Novak as she slips in and out of her dead great grandmother’s persona. So even back then, there was a touch of paranormal in the books Alfred Hitchcock wrote
Thinking of some of these old plots that linger in my mind, I write stories of romance and suspense to hopefully give readers just a hint of that old Hitchcock magic. What’s your favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie of all times? Which actress in today’s Hollywood do you picture playing the role of the ice blonde? The perfect femme fatale?