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The Definitive Hitchcock Game


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Initial post: Jan 8, 2013 9:46:10 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 8, 2013 9:59:39 AM PST
Herewith: the definitive Alfred Hitchcock game.

For some, if not many, of us, Hitchcock was the greatest filmmaker of them all. Anyone with more than a passing interesting in film needs to know his work, and to come to terms with it. His reputation continues to rise, as witness the recent Sight and Sound poll that ranked Vertigo in the number one position.

We have had a number of Hitchcock games, but I for one find the rules as established curiously unsatisfying. For one thing, forced absolute rankings may please the obsessive-but is, say, Vertigo better than Notorious in any absolute sense? Furthermore-voting down any film strikes me as disrespectful, and I extend that courtesy even to films I dislike. Finally-rankings coming out of the current game seem to me to be rather odd.

Therefore: a new form of the Hitchcock game. The simple rules are as follows:

1. There will be three rounds of voting, each lasting two weeks.
2. In each round, you are asked to select films by group, without any other ranking within that group.
3. The first round we will call the First Division. Select Hitchcock's very best films with the additional criterion that they be among the best films ever made. You may select as many as you like, or select none.
4. At the end of two weeks, I will tally and publish the results. How many films are named to the first division will depend on the number of voters and votes-most likely, selection by some percentage of those voting.
5. We will them remove those films and continue with the Second Division-very good films, not at the top rank.
6. We will then follow with a Third Division-good films.
7. The remainder will form a Fourth Division. We may have an additional round to ferret out films that too few people have seen to evaluate.
8. Please vote only for those films you have seen.
9. You may modify your selections at any time up to the closing of each division.
10. As moderator, I reserve the sole right to eliminate any posting that is inappropriate or abusive.

The following is a list of all Hitchcock films, excluding lost films and his contribution to the anthology film Elstree, in chronological order.

The Pleasure Garden (1926 - Silent)
The Lodger (1926 - Silent)
The Ring (1927 - Silent)
Downhill (1927--Silent)
Easy Virtue (1927 - Silent)
Champagne (1928 - Silent)
The Farmer's Wife (1928 - Silent)
Manxman (1929)
Blackmail (silent version) (1929)
Blackmail (1929)
Juno and the Paycock (1930)
Murder! (1930)
Mary (German version of Murder!) (1930)
Skin Game (1931)
Rich and Strange (1932)
Number 17 (1932)
Waltzes from Vienna (1933)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
The 39 Steps (1935)
Secret Agent (1936)
Sabotage (1936)
Young and Innocent (1937)
The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Jamaica Inn (1939)
Rebecca (1940)
Foreign Correspondent (1940)
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941)
Suspicion (1941)
Saboteur (1942)
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Bon Voyage & Aventure Malgache (1944)
Lifeboat (1944)
Spellbound (1945)
Notorious (1946)
The Paradine Case (1947)
Rope (1948)
Under Capricorn (1949)
Stage Fright (1950)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
I Confess (1953)
Dial M for Murder (1954)
Rear Window (1954)
To Catch a Thief (1955)
The Trouble with Harry (1955)
The Wrong Man (1956)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
Vertigo (1958)
North by Northwest (1959)
Psycho (1960)
The Birds (1963)
Marnie (1964)
Torn Curtain (1966)
Topaz (1969)
Frenzy (1972)
Family Plot (1976)

After this post, I will post my own first division selections. Commentary is welcome-particularly positive commentary.

Voting for the first division will close on January 22, at 10:00 AM PST Amazon.

Posted on Jan 8, 2013 9:57:48 AM PST
My first division selections. Please copy the entire list and put a 1 before your selection. That will make things easy to tabulate.

The Pleasure Garden (1926 - Silent)
The Lodger (1926 - Silent)
The Ring (1927 - Silent)
Downhill (1927--Silent)
Easy Virtue (1927 - Silent)
Champagne (1928 - Silent)
The Farmer's Wife (1928 - Silent)
Manxman (1929)
Blackmail (silent version) (1929)
Blackmail (1929)
Juno and the Paycock (1930)
Murder! (1930)
Mary (German version of Murder!) (1930)
Skin Game (1931)
Rich and Strange (1932)
Number 17 (1932)
Waltzes from Vienna (1933)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
The 39 Steps (1935)
Secret Agent (1936)
Sabotage (1936)
Young and Innocent (1937)
1 The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Jamaica Inn (1939)
Rebecca (1940)
1 Foreign Correspondent (1940)
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941)
Suspicion (1941)
Saboteur (1942)
1 Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Bon Voyage & Aventure Malgache (1944)
Lifeboat (1944)
Spellbound (1945)
1 Notorious (1946)
The Paradine Case (1947)
Rope (1948)
Under Capricorn (1949)
Stage Fright (1950)
1 Strangers on a Train (1951)
1 I Confess (1953)
Dial M for Murder (1954)
1 Rear Window (1954)
To Catch a Thief (1955)
The Trouble with Harry (1955)
The Wrong Man (1956)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
1 Vertigo (1958)
1 North by Northwest (1959)
Psycho (1960)
1 The Birds (1963)
Marnie (1964)
Torn Curtain (1966)
Topaz (1969)
Frenzy (1972)
Family Plot (1976)

Most of my selections should be self-evident. I will note five borderline cases:

I put I Confess and The Birds in the first division--perhaps slightly overranking them.
Similarly, I did not put either version of The Man Who Knew Too Much in the first division--perhaps slightly underranking them.
Finally, much as I admire Psycho, I can't quite put it in the first division, in spite of its technique and influence. It's a bit like Hitchcock's Tosca--which one noted opera critic called a shabby little shocker. If I were ranking individual scenes, of course, I would have to put one or two from Psycho near the top of the Hitchcock oeuvre.

Posted on Jan 8, 2013 10:00:23 AM PST
My o my o my, what a quick, and cowardly, Zero of One there is.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 10:34:12 AM PST
Please tell me if I'm doing something wrong so that I may edit, but I'll just name five that I feel are in the first division (and these are in order of how I would rank them):

1. Vertigo
2. North by Northwest
3. Notorious
4. Psycho
5. The Lady Vanishes

I'm borderline with Rear Window. It's tough. I definitely need to see it again within the next few months.

Posted on Jan 8, 2013 10:37:39 AM PST
PoM: The ranking is irrelevant to this game.

So that I can use Excel to do the tabulating, I would prefer that players use the same technique as I did: copy the list and insert a 1 in front of your choices.

Posted on Jan 8, 2013 10:48:04 AM PST
The Pleasure Garden (1926 - Silent)
The Lodger (1926 - Silent)
The Ring (1927 - Silent)
Downhill (1927--Silent)
Easy Virtue (1927 - Silent)
Champagne (1928 - Silent)
The Farmer's Wife (1928 - Silent)
Manxman (1929)
Blackmail (silent version) (1929)
Blackmail (1929)
Juno and the Paycock (1930)
Murder! (1930)
Mary (German version of Murder!) (1930)
Skin Game (1931)
Rich and Strange (1932)
Number 17 (1932)
Waltzes from Vienna (1933)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
The 39 Steps (1935)
Secret Agent (1936)
Sabotage (1936)
Young and Innocent (1937)
1 1 The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Jamaica Inn (1939)
Rebecca (1940)
1 Foreign Correspondent (1940)
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941)
Suspicion (1941)
Saboteur (1942)
1 Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Bon Voyage & Aventure Malgache (1944)
Lifeboat (1944)
Spellbound (1945)
1 1 Notorious (1946)
The Paradine Case (1947)
Rope (1948)
Under Capricorn (1949)
Stage Fright (1950)
1 Strangers on a Train (1951)
1 I Confess (1953)
Dial M for Murder (1954)
1 Rear Window (1954)
To Catch a Thief (1955)
The Trouble with Harry (1955)
The Wrong Man (1956)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
1 1 Vertigo (1958)
1 1 North by Northwest (1959)
1 Psycho (1960)
1 The Birds (1963)
Marnie (1964)
Torn Curtain (1966)
Topaz (1969)
Frenzy (1972)
Family Plot (1976)

Posted on Jan 8, 2013 11:31:37 AM PST
PoM: I thank you!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 1:43:57 PM PST
Julian Pope says:
I felt the same about Rear Window for a long time and I've seen it about 4 or 5 times, it's so highly praised yet just not one of my favorites. My list is very similar to yours, heres my top 10
http://www.amazon.com/lm/RTNHB0FKCR2C7/ref=cm_lm_pthnk_view?ie=UTF8&lm_bb=

Posted on Jan 8, 2013 1:57:39 PM PST
Julian: I can't include your top ten that way. Please reread the game rules. Your top ten might be a mix of first and second division according to the way I have structured things.

The only way for a vote to count is by following the very simple format.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 9, 2013 6:49:09 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 9, 2013 6:49:30 AM PST
WAS: I've got one thing to ask you: what in heaven's name made you want to go over and post in the Happy Chat Room, a thread so saccharine that makes one ill?

And I've gotten a new poll started up involving Shakespeare films. Here's the link:
http://www.amazon.com/forum/movie/ref=cm_cd_tfp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2E577OZX17PPI&cdThread=TxPZ985LMP2RWV

Posted on Jan 9, 2013 6:59:50 AM PST
PoM: I started looking in there after The Worst Thread went into a puppet-dominated tizzy.

The Kacee/Joyce tearoom is strange indeed. I had to comment on that "cook everything until it's charred" nonsense. Among other things, I am rather serious about food.

The question is, what were you doing there?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 9, 2013 7:02:38 AM PST
WAS: I hadn't looked at it in several months after many had abandoned it, but then I decided to take another look at it. I looked through the several pages, and I almost received a massive stomachache.

Posted on Feb 19, 2013 10:18:35 AM PST
Just a comment to revive this. Does anyone want to restart on this one, with the rules above?
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Discussion in:  Movie forum
Participants:  3
Total posts:  13
Initial post:  Jan 8, 2013
Latest post:  Feb 19, 2013

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