Alfred Hitchcock Loses His Suspense

Rear Window

Professional photographer Jeff (James Stewart) is stuck in his apartment, recuperating from a broken leg. Out of boredom, he begins to spy on his neighbors and starts to suspect a murder has taken place. Gripping his binoculars, Jeff takes a closer look into his neighbor’s window, but after a moment of self-reflection, decides spying is unethical and the people in his housing community deserve more respect. Jeff closes his curtains and vows never to invade anyone’s privacy ever again.

Strangers on a Train

Bruno (Robert Walker), a psychotic male, meets Guy (Farley Granger), a tennis player. During the train journey, Bruno realizes they both wish to kill someone. He puts forth an idea where they exchange murders to evade the cops. Unfortunately, Guy’s attention has been somewhat occupied by the fact Bruno does not have a valid train ticket. Slipping away, Guy reaches a pay phone and informs the authorities of the crime which has taken place. Bruno is charged $100 for fare evasion, eventually decreasing to $15 due to the fact it was a first-time offense.

Psycho

Phoenix secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) goes on the run after stealing $40,000 from her employer. During her escape from the police, she stops the night at the ramshackle Bates Motel and meets a strange young man Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), who has a difficult relationship with his mother. Marion helps Norman and his mother establish that better communication is the key to a healthy relationship, for which they thank her with a complimentary breakfast and 10% off future stays at the motel.

North by Northwest

In 1958, two thugs in a New York City hotel bar hear a waiter calling the name of George Kaplan, for whom they are looking. When advertising executive Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) summons the same waiter, he is mistaken for Kaplan. Thornhill informs the thugs of their mistake, for which they profusely apologize. In order to compensate Thornhill for any inconvenience caused, they offer to pay for his white wine spritzers for the duration of the evening. A longstanding friendship endures between the three parties until Thornhill’s death in 1986.

The Birds

Melanie (Tippi Hedren), a rich socialite, follows Mitch (Rod Taylor), a lawyer, to his home in Bodega Bay to play a practical joke on him. Things take a bizarre turn when the birds in the area begin to surround the family farm. Mitch’s loud “shoo!” does little to scatter the birds, leading Melanie to call Bodega Bay Animal Control. Appointment times are scarce and animal control’s offer of Wednesday between 1 PM and 4 PM clashes with a previously arranged trip to the optometrists at 2:30. The birds eventually leave of their own accord.

Vertigo

After a rooftop chase, San Francisco detective John “Scottie” Ferguson (James Stewart) retires due to fear of heights and vertigo. An acquaintance from college, Gavin Elster, asks Scottie to follow his wife, Madeleine (Kim Novak), claiming that she is in some sort of danger. Not wishing to get involved in another couple’s personal affairs, Scottie declines and instead plans to take time off in Nepal. After finding some reasonably-priced flights on Skyscanner, Scottie lands in Kathmandu, hoping fresh air and a clear mind will provide relief from his crippling migraines.

To Catch a Thief

John Robie (Cary Grant), a former thief who has changed his ways, finds himself in a pickle when a robbery takes place. He must prove his innocence and convince everyone he is not responsible for the thievery. When the police arrive at a restaurant looking for him, Robie explains the real culprit is his friend’s daughter, Danielle (Brigitte Auber), because in movies it’s always the last person you expect. One of the officers disagrees with Robie’s theory on cinematic structure, arguing that in The Usual Suspects he knew it was Kevin Spacey from the start. Breaking character, Cary Grant apologizes for the detour and meager 18-minute running time of the film, suggesting viewers watch The Usual Suspects instead.

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