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Storefront Hitchcock

4.4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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(Aug 14, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

AN INGENIOUS CONCERT FILM THAT DELIVERS EXTRAORDINARY INSIGHT INTO MUSICAL VISIONARY AND CULT PHENOMENON ROBYN HITCHCOCK. SUBTITLES IN FRENCH AND SPANISH.

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This Hitchcock is a thriller of a different stripe, thanks to director Jonathan Demme, whose evident passion for music again combines with his consummate filmmaking skills to show off its subject to maximum effect. Much as he did for the Talking Heads in Stop Making Sense, Demme here gets right to the core of singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock by focusing on him in performance. It's a testament to all involved that Storefront Hitchcock achieves an impact similar to that classic concert film through a strikingly different approach.

Unlike the Heads, Hitchcock is a quintessential cult artist who retired his band, the Egyptians, and now performs mostly solo. To capture his songs in sharp focus, Demme filmed the musician playing in a vacated Manhattan storefront, his back to its broad window, his small but rapt audience heard but not seen. Apart from an establishing credit sequence that descends to the streets, the 77-minute program consists of Hitchcock in medium or close shots, with occasional glimpses of passersby and onlookers in the street behind him. Simple stage lighting is augmented by use of a translucent curtain, an opaque backdrop, and a checkerboard overlay of different colored gels that periodically change the outward view. For DVD and VHS, Demme has opted for a full-frame transfer that actually makes sense in terms of sustaining this intimacy.

That simplicity, and the beautifully shot and composed color film footage, draw us deeply into Hitchcock's songs and monologues, which confirm his acerbic wit, a sharp eye for pop cultural details, and a free-floating surrealism that lends his verbal riffs an antic poetry. He's not a virtuoso by any measure, yet it's easy to hear why he's such a musician's favorite in the instinctive drama and energy of his mostly acoustic guitar work. If you've never heard Robyn Hitchcock, this stunning, minimalist feature will intrigue you. If you're already a fan, prepare to swoon. --Sam Sutherland


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Robyn Hitchcock, Deni Bonet, Tim Keegan
  • Directors: Jonathan Demme
  • Producers: Edward Saxon, Gary Goetzman, Peter Saraf, Steve Shareshian
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: August 14, 2001
  • Run Time: 77 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792843630
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,397 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Storefront Hitchcock" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 28, 2000
Format: DVD
just like HOCKEY...it seems to get Robyn Hitchcock you need to see him LIVE...and I can't imagine a better simulation than this wonderful little film. THE ONLY drawback is it is WAY too short! with DVD I have become expectant of bonus material and a few extra songs wouldn't hurt ..but hey that just tells you how good this is..YOU DO NOT WANT IT TO END. I wasn't a big fan before I saw this movie and now I understand why his fans (or cult) are so passionate..lyrics which are challenging (to say the least) great vocals (lennonesque) and a pretty stunning guitarist to boot...BUY this DVD...you will be charmed and enthralled.
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Format: DVD
I had seen this film breifly on Sundance but a friend of mine always turned it to something else saying "I hate this guy!"

Then I found what I was sure was it, even though I didn't know the title before I bought it. I took it home and watched it and was hooked; I continuously watched it and it never got old. I always find something I missed the time before. No one I show it to understands it the same way I do, but there's something special about it. It's like it's not just a concert video, but it's really a movie, but a different kind of movie all together. I reccomend this to ANYone, however, I've determined that this is the border of coolness. If you enjoy this film, you're cool, if you don't then you are uncool and you probably only listen to mainstream pop anyway.
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Format: DVD
Jonathan Demme directed this and frames it as the most intimate of live portraits. This is probably what MTV used to aim for but not got to, what Storytellers wants to be but can't be...a true picture of an individual and artist in his element. Using only his art to explain itself, Demme puts his cameras to Robyn Hitchcock in a way that would probably have been intimidating to many other performers, but Hitchcock accepts these intrusions and fearlessly treads forward in his usual uncompromisingly idiosyncratic way. The movie really hits home the issue for me that he's so far from bland that he could never be popular the way many are. People have to choose to like or look into Robyn Hitchcock, so many things become popular because of their blandness, safeness, trends. None of that is found in his music, or lyrics. At the same time, he's brash, intelligent, tuneful, and most importantly humorously unconventional which is the big appeal. Normally, there is no upside when people think unconventionality and tuneful in the same sentence, they immediately think, "that's not for me." A shame for them, because he's such a stout artist, he's just fun to listen to or watch whenever you pick him up no matter what album you choose. Have a few albums of his and none of these songs are on this, so it's refreshing to hear other material I also really like.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Robyn Hitchcock is one of the best pop musicians, there's no doubt about it. This movie directed by the Oscar winner ("The silence of the lambs") Jonathan Demme, is simply the consecration of Hitchcock, playing before an audience that we never see but that fervor applauds it, in a window of New York. The people who passes behind sometimes appear incredulous, and those who are of the side of in enjoy the fantastic music and poetry of the great Robyn Hitchcock.

The songs are brilliant, detailed selected, and with a contained emotive high place, which wins in crudeness having only to Hitchcock and his guitar. For moments there is a violin (Deni Bonet), but most of the time is man and guitar joined in delicate and strident songs.

The spoken parts between songs deserves a special attention. There are product of the sarcasm and irony of the great english gentleman.

The DVD have spanish and french subtitles, which makes it much more interesting for whom the english is not our original language.
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Format: DVD
I love Storefront Hitchcock. However the DVD was released in Standard format only (full screen) which is way lame.

And Hitchcock performed many other songs that were filmed that could've easily been included here. the Soundtrack CD contains a bunch of songs not in the film (and the Soundtrack Vinyl LP contains a few more).

It's nice that Demme would make this film but why is it SOOO brief?

I mean his Talking Heads film Stop Making Sense is nearly two hours in length.

Come on, 77 Minutes?!?

It's shame that it took so long to be released on DVD/VHS to begin with but why it

was given such a half baked-release is beyond me.

Hitchcock deserves much better.
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Format: VHS Tape
I've been a fan for years and years, but I have learned that my friends just don't see the brilliance in Robyn that I do - mainly because it takes a little effort on the part of the listener to look beyond the cheese, flesh, and tomato references to find the humor and genius. I saw Storefront Hitchcock this weekend, and the film is so well-made: the store-window concept, the camera work, and the songs that were chosen - all excellent. If you're this kind of fan, buy this video!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Maybe Demme was thinking this would be his homage to Alfred Hitchcock ("Rear Window"?). Perhaps it's free association or confusion. The window here is upstage of Robyn Hitchcock, who I'm not sure agreed with the concept but played along like a good sport. The songs and Robyn's presence are the point and eventually take over. His one-man band squeezes beguiling strangeness from both his guitar and voice.

The solo arrangement of "Devil's Radio" from "Moss Elixir" is a treat, though it also made me miss my favorite from that album, "Sinister But She Was Happy" (a chandelier festooned with leeches).

The duets, however, are the highlight of this performance, though any stage with Robyn Hitchcock on is worth watching, evidenced by an amateur video I just saw of him singing (touchingly) "If I Fell" with Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello.

Here, in "Storefront Hitchcock," his warmth and kindness come through mostly when he's focused on being the generous senior performer to little Deni and Tim.

I enjoyed this performance, and I will watch it again, and I may find more in Demme's part in the production than I do now, but for now I think Robyn Hitchcock is much wittier than Jonathan Demme, and Demme doesn't know.
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