by Anne Thompson
November 2, 2012 2:23 PM 6 Comments
Scarlett Johansson in "Hitchcock"
There is no actual evidence, one of the producers said at the AFI FEST opening night party, that the director ever sexually assaulted any of his leading ladies, although "Birds" and "Marnie" star Tippi Hedren has called him "evil and deviant." In "Hitchcock," Vera Miles (Jessica Biel) tells Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson) that Hitchcock is just like the Jimmy Stewart character in "Vertigo." One of the reasons Paramount didn't want to finance "Psycho" was that his other experiments "The Wrong Man" and "Vertigo" had tanked. I love the scene where Hitch passes out to the press gory photos of real-life murder victims of serial killer Ed Gein (Michael Wincott). Was this a good idea? "They can't stop looking at them, can they?" HItchcock replies.
Neither Mirren nor Hopkins turned up at the premiere, as they were shooting "Reds 2" in London. Of the ensemble, only supporting cast D'Arcy, Stuhlbarg, Wincott, Kurtwood Smith and Richard Portnow were on hand. In a video clip Mirren and Hopkins thanked Brit producers Tom Thayer and Alan Barnette who developed the project for the decade before it got to Ivan Reitman and Tom Pollock's Montecito Pictures. Fox Searchlight came in to partner on the film which marks "Anvil! The Story of Anvil" director Sacha Gervasi's somewhat clunky feature debut.
Too much time is spent on marital tensions between Hitchcock and Reville, who enjoys writing with a flirtatious screenwriter (Danny Huston), although this does yield a fabulous Mirren blowout scene that earned applause Thursday night. Searchlight opted to put the film out during the holiday frame, aiming the film at the over-50 demo also represented by the Academy, hoping to build some extra buzz during the awards season. The film is a genial crowdpleaser--which had to tiptoe around the rules laid down by Universal and the Hitchcock estate (just as "Psycho" had to stay inside the rigid boundaries of the ratings board)--that is unlikely to garner heaps of critical praise. Danny Elfman's Bernard Herrmann-inspired score is just right.
"Psycho" (1960) Hitch broke every rule making this terrifying indie classic. Saul Bass storyboards. Stephen Rebello commentary.