Hitchcock: The Exuberant Thirties
Our second season of Hitchcock films covers three classic movies from the mid 1930s when the famous director was at his prime. He directed a series of beautifully crafted, exciting and witty comedy-thrillers which were responsible for originating the modern escapist thriller. They all feature innocent people caught up in espionage and include many of his brilliant trademark techniques and motifs.
The first of these was The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), which features a cracking plot involving a kidnapping and an assassination attempt in the Royal Albert Hall. It was a huge success and Hitchcock remade it in 1954. This was rapidly followed by his first masterpiece, The 39 Steps (1935), to be screened at Depot as part of its New Year’s Eve celebrations, one of the greatest British films ever made. Drawing freely from the novel by John Buchan, the film features stunning chase scenes, great suspense and clever humour, with a laconic performance by Robert Donat as Richard Hannay and some erotic encounters with women including a handcuffed Madeleine Carroll as an ice cool blonde.
We are also screening his final British movie, The Lady Vanishes (1938) with Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave struggling to solve a mystery on a train crossing Europe. The film is a highly entertaining comedy-thriller directed with huge panache, one of his best, and which led to the start of Hitchcock’s Hollywood career.
Films in this season