Sunday, March 31, 2013

Notorious (1946)

WHO: Alfred Hitchcock

WHAT: This is probably the most highly-regarded of Hitchcock's 1940s films. Though the decade may not match the 1950s or (arguably) even the 1930s or the 1960s in sheer number of masterpieces,, Notorious stands with just about anything he ever made as a fully-assured, controlled, work of entertainment and art. Here's part of what the director said about the film to Peter Bogdanovich in 1963, the year the latter helped MOMA put together the first (essentially) complete retrospective of Hitchcock films in the United States:
This is the old love-and-duty theme. Grant's job is to get Bergman in bed with Rains, the other man. It's ironic, really, and Grant is a bitter man all the way through. Rains was sympathetic because he's the victim of a confidence trick and we always have sympathy for the victim, no matter how foolish he is. Also I would think Rains' love for Bergman was very much stronger than Grant's.
WHERE/WHEN: Screens tonight at the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto at 5:35 & 10:00 PM, and at 7:00 PM on Monday, April 8th at the Sebastiani Theatre in Sonoma, California.

WHY: As the Stanford's Alfred Hitchcock series winds down (after tonight, there's only next weekend's double-bill of Psycho and The Birds left at that venue) it's time to get ready for the next phase in 2013's celebration of the Master of Suspense.

First of all, the Castro includes a Hitchcock film on it's April calendar: The Birds, which as of this week has been giving avian nightmares for fifty years now, and which will screen there on April 14th.

The excitement is building for the US premiere of new restorations of nine of Hitchcock's silent films, also happening at the Castro thanks to the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The festival website has been updated to include all the showtimes and musicians expected to perform for this mid-June event. Only the identity of the organist expected to accompany Easy Virtue on Sunday afternoon on June 16th has yet to be revealed, perhaps because the fate of the Castro's Wurlitzer is currently up in the air. Or that may be a coincidence.

After the Castro screenings, these silent features will tour cinemas around the country, and among the stops will be Berkeley's Pacific Film Archive, which still has seven talkies to go in its own retrospective.

The Lodger will return to San Francisco on October 31st, where it will screen at Davies Symphony Hall accompanied by organist Todd Wilson. This is part of a musical-minded Hitchcock week at the venue that also includes an October 30th screening of Psycho with the San Francisco Symphony (albeit presumably just the string section) performing Bernard Herrman's score live on stage to a version of the film with only sound effects and dialogue audible, a similar treatment of Vertigo (this time presumably not just the string section- gotta have those flutes and horns) November 1st, and a November 2nd set of "short films", by which I presume the Symphony staff means excerpts from other Hitchcock features from the period of his collaboration with Herrmann (from 1955-1964).

HOW: Notorious screens tonight on a 35mm Stanford double-bill with North By Northwest. The screening at the Sebastiani is a solo screening, and I've been unable to learn whether it will be a 35mm one, though I know the theatre still has the capability to run such prints.

UPDATE 4/4/2013: I have just received confirmation that the Sebastiani Theatre screening will indeed be in 35mm!

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