What’s Your Favorite 1950s Alfred Hitchcock Film?


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What’s Your Favorite 1940s Alfred Hitchcock Film?

Alfred Hitchcock: Ten Things To Know About The Master of Suspense

  • RVoss

    It was hard-hard-hard to vote against anything with Grace Kelly but Eva Saint Marie left and indelible unforgetfulness I couldn’t dismiss.

  • Wayne P.

    Way too hard to make a choice here as theyre all fab faves, but Strangers on a Train wins by a nose simply because the plot device of ‘switching murders’ gets bonus points for even better than his normal originality (and with no discernable usual macguffin required;)!

    • Bruce Reber

      IMO SOAT DID have a McGuffin – Guy Haines unique cigarette lighter (with the crossed tennis rackets) which Bruno Anthony retrieved from under the sewer grating, and which the cops found in Anthony’s hand when he died after being crushed under the merry-go-round, proving Haines was innocent of his wife’s murder.

  • Steve in Sacramento

    Many critics say Hitchcock was at his peak in the 50s. I tend to agree, though NOTORIOUS (1946), SHADOW OF A DOUBT (’43), and PSYCHO (’60) are all in my top five, that is, along with REAR WINDOW and VERTIGO. VERTIGO tends to get the critical acclaim these days (Sight & Sound’s #1 movie of all time!), and it’s a pretty great movie, but I’m still just slightly partial to REAR WINDOW: to my mind, one of the ultimate screen entertainments, and one of those movies I can watch again and again (say, once a year) and discover new things.

  • Gary Koca

    The top four vote getters were all great, great films. My own favorite is probably Strangers on a Train.

  • Gord Jackson

    I have to confess VERTIGO copped my vote, but I also have very high regard for THE WRONG MAN, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN and I CONFESS.

  • cinemabon

    Vertigo is Hitch’s artistic triumph and probably his finest work period. However, the conversation on the train with Grant and Saint is like verbal porn and irresistible. Some of the finest dialogue ever written.

  • TrippyTrellis

    I voted for “North by Northwest” which I saw at the Radio City Music Hall on my 16th birthday. I went mad over it- the plot, the witty script, the music (that haunting love theme), Cary at his most dashing, Jessie Royce Landis at her most adorable, and best of all- Eva Marie Saint as Eve Kendall, the most sophisticated and drop-dead gorgeous of Hitchcock’s blondes.

  • Laura-Leigh

    Rear Window and Dial M For Murder, without a doubt. Although I generally prefer Hitchcock’s gems of the 40s over his success flicks of the 50/60s.

  • Antone

    I vote for the perfect convergence of irresistible forces: Hitchcock, Stewart, Kelly, Ritter, Corey, Burr, claustrophobia, immobility & voyeurism [Rear Window].

  • Kevin

    There were a lot of great ones, but my favorites are North by Northwest, Rear Window, Strangers on a Train, and Vertigo

  • Linda

    My first thought was Rear Window, then I retread the list! James Stewart and Doris Day in The Man Who Knew too Much…such a wonderful pairing! I personally usually think of Ms. Day’s comedies and musicals, but, she was fantastic in this movie. I have the utmost respect for Ms. Day for the personal issues she left at home while shooting a film. And what can I say about Mr. Stewart…he was just amazing! Hitch knew what he was doing putting these two icons together…he must have felt “Ke sera, sera…”

  • WDPjr

    I won’t vote in this poll bcz my all-time favorite Hitchcock movie was left off. Notorious my favorite of his, even though many of these movies listed in the poll are also excellent. Bill.

    • Jim

      Notorious is from 1946.

      • WDPjr

        OOPS!!! didn’t notice that part……

  • Jim

    This is a perfect example of a poll that can’t be serious. Who can pick ONE favorite from this list? I picked “Vertigo”, which may be one of the two or three best films ever made, but it would be just as easy to pick “North By Northwest”, “Rear Window”, or “Strangers On A Train”. And that would still leave three or four that are just a notch below them in quality. The only real outliers are “The Wrong Man” (if you think Henry Fonda looks like a bass player in a Latin band, you need some schoolin’!), “Stage Fright”, and “I Confess” — and that last one would have been great if the screenplay had been reworked. I have a soft spot for “The Trouble With Harry” — not a great film, but I fall in love with Shirley McLaine every time I see it.

  • georgiacee

    You didn’t ask which we thought was the best but which was our favorite. How could anyone not love Cary Grant and Grace Kelly (not to mention the other great cast members) in To Catch a Thief. North by Northwest was a close second. Still want to try it on a train…but fireworks!!! That I can relate to. I know everyone praises Vertigo but it never grabbed me. I just couldn’t believe James Stewart’s obsession.

  • Cara

    I voted for Rear Window, although I know that Vertigo has risen like a phoenix into the film critic stratosphere. Perhaps, I would rather a three way tie between Vertigo, Rear Window and North by Northwest. And for a delightful little black comedy, The Trouble with Harry, a personal fav. I also love the interactions between Grant and Kelly in To Catch a Thief. Wow! What fireworks!

    • Antone

      Ditto, ditto, ditto. ditto & ditto. Your only omission was the steamy fireworks between Edmund Gwenn & Mildred Natwick in The Trouble with Harry.

  • classicsforever

    “Rear Window” – the little picture. It took place in a small area. “North By Northwest” – the big picture. It took place in a LARGE area. What talent is displayed in both of these films!

    • Virginia

      Hitchcock was a tutorial on how to “operate” in a small space, though Hitchcock did the wide angle just as effectively. But, you have to be a master to do a full movie shooting almost exclusively in one “room” as he did in Rear Window, Dial “M” and Rope (1948).

      Hard to believe he never won an Oscar. Well not so hard, when you consider the “politics” involved with winning an Oscar. Cary Grant didn’t win one until he was 30 or more years OUT of the movies.

      • Bruce Reber

        Cary Grant was awarded his honorary Oscar in 1982, 16 years after his final movie, “Walk, Don’t Run” (1966). Yes, it’s hard to believe he never won a competitive Oscar, given the many fine performances he gave in so many great movies from the 30’s to the 60’s.

  • Moosejaw

    Lifeboat? Not a Hitchcock fan. I did like Lifeboat.

    • kp22kc

      Lifeboat is from 1944, not the 50’s.

  • kp22kc

    While I love or like all the movies listed, Dial “M” For Murder has to be my favorite of the time. Maybe because I saw it before seeing any of the others. Also, I saw it on a small black and white TV and thought it was in black and white until I saw it in color several years later. Now I have even seen it in 3D and it looks wonderful. I fell in love with Grace Kelly while watching this movie and although she was in several Hitchcock movies, this is her best, in my opinion. I loved the set up for the murder and the execution and all the thinking that the audience has to do. I know it is based on a play, and that was all done in the play, but the movie just has something extra. Watching the remake starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Michael Douglas is almost like watching a High School production after watching the original masterpiece. Although I did enjoy that movie as well, it just doesn’t compare to Dial “M” For Murder.

  • Virginia

    A very difficult choice. I love most of these movies, so I own them. For me it’s a toss up between Rear Window, North by Northwest and The Many Who Knew Too Much for Number One, and Strangers on a Train and Dial M for Murder for Number Two. I enjoyed the Wrong Man but I always thought there was something missing that I couldn’t put my finger on–I think it’s about the deadpan, almost “lifeless” performances. I did not empathize with any of the characters not the accused or the wife, and not even the children, who were not fully developed as characters. (I also hate the music.)
    I also didn’t get much out of Vertigo or The Trouble with Harry, even though Hitchcock is one of my favorites.. Just my opinion.

  • DorianTB

    Hitchcock is always my cup of hemlock, even the relatively-lesser films, but NORTH BY NORTHWEST has been my favorite Hitchcock movie since I was a teen. In fact, it’s my movie of all time, period! 😀 My runners-up, for the record: REAR WINDOW and STRANGERS ON A TRAIN!

  • angel

    REAR WINDOW perfection at its best!

  • Connie

    My fav is not on the list. Marnie is the best Hitchcock movie ever!!!

    • George

      Marnie is 1960s

    • Jason Doucette

      Marnie was 1964, but it was quite a substantial film in Hitch’s repertoire of the ‘blonde damsel in distress’ genre (which he probably invented!). Marnie was Tippi Hedron’s follow-up to The Birds, and while he was no longer sexually interested in Tippi, he cast her with the first brand new ‘James Bond’, Sean Connery… and the film garnered some following amongst fans & critics alike.

      However, most viewed the film as a throwback to his ‘film noir’ which, by now, fans wanted the ‘horror-suspense’ genre brought forth by Psycho (our first ‘slasher’ thriller) and The Birds. Hitch had by now spoiled his audience with his new brand of ‘Terror Films’, and so Marnie was quite tame (but still a masterpiece on it’s own), being an old-school psychological thriller/romance. But I digress…

  • Jason Doucette

    “Rear Window”, hands down for me. Echoing Antoine and others here, Hitch was very adept at bringing both very big films and very small films to life with his masterpiece signature. But, as a huge Hitchcock follower and owner of all his films, I have to admit and agree with many fans that Rear Window was perhaps his most personal & autobiographical film of the 50’s (and most of his films in this era were masterpieces, mind you).

    It’s main subtext was that of his self-admitted obsession of voyeurism (which we all, as film-lovers, should admit to as well), plus it once again showcased the symbolic image of the ‘innocent blonde damsel in distress’ of which our Master of Suspense had quite a commentary on. And, I have to admit that I, too, fell in love with Grace Kelly beyond all of his other blonde leads.

    Also, personally, I always preferred his ‘minimalist’ approach to the set piece, rather than his epic landscape approach. And so, the films Rope, Rear Window, and Psycho will always remain my favorites throughout his career.

  • Johnny Sherman

    North by Northwest—-can anyone not hum the theme from this great movie? Maybe the shortest third act in film–about twenty seconds.

  • frank braio

    When I grew up and got a little more mature in my movie-watching, I began to realize how great a movie ‘Vertigo’ was. Maybe one of the greatest of all time. And completely un-forgettable. Again,
    what hidden depths the movie reveals in Jimmy Stewart. I wonder if there’s a literature on how
    Hitchcok was able to evoke such a performance. Further, the visual images, the music, the timing and the ensemble of performances offered in the film work together to create a sense of Mystery that sweeps the viewer along with it. Again, the film is about a murder; in that sense it is a murder mystery. But there is something deeper about this film. Unique in the director’s corpus. And it is as if the depths and the Mystery of human condition were being explored. Something that only very rarely an artist can bring forth.

  • dave816

    This is difficult since I loved several as my favorites. Rear Window is my all time favorite Hitchcock film but North by Northwest is just as good and The Man Who Knew Too Much but Vertigo is the most haunting and to me the best performance ever given by James Stewart. I am happy so many of the Master’s films are the BEST. His actresses were never showcased the way Hitchcock showcased them. Grace Kelly, Eva Marie Saint, Doris Day, Kim Novak. They all gave the best performances of their careers. Remember Janet Leigh in Phycho? She never came close to anything else in her acting career than her performance in that Hitchcock film. Same for Eva Marie Saint….she was total perfection in NBNW.

  • IceStormer

    My all-time favorite is “The Trouble with Harry”. Hitch had a flair for black comedy. It’s a pity he didn’t do more.

    That being said, of the titles on the list, it’s a flat-out tie between N-b-NW and To Catch a Thief for my extremely close second choice. IMHO, Cary Grant was one of Hitch’s best actors.

    • Antone

      You should have voted in accordance with your conscience. Trouble is on the ballot [1 meager vote ahead of The Man Who Knew Too Much for 7th place]. Hitchcock did manage to insert some dark humor into most of his films.

      I too found Harry to be thoroughly amusing. I have refrained from starting on my hit list for fear that my victims, like Harry, would refuse to remain buried.

  • Gayle Feyrer

    I’m really stunned that Vertigo isn’t at the top. I adore Strangers on a Train, and probably watch it more often, but Vertigo is a masterpiece! Lots of wonderful movies, of course. Hurrah for Hitch!

  • RUaFriend

    This was so tough! All my favorites are on the list so I just had to go with the one I’ve watched the most, North By Northwest. I could have just as easily picked any of the top 5 plus TMWKTM!

  • Chicago Mike

    “Rear Window”…..then “Vertigo.” “Rear Window” is my all-time favorite movie, totally engrossing and enjoyable on the surface, but so much more going on than is immediately evident on first viewing….one example, the Mona Lisa theme (which I didn’t pick up on until about the 50th time I’d seen the film). Lots going on in “Vertigo” also…..has anyone but me noticed all the references to “The Wizard of Oz”?

  • Susan

    I have to put in a plug for Stage Fright — it’s just so entertaining. Great cast. One of my favorites, although I voted for Rear Window…however, most of Hitchcock’s films are gems.

    • Antone

      This is one of the handful of Hitchcock movies I have never seen [most of the others are his very early silents]. I don’t recall even hearing this film mentioned. Since you have given it a firm thumbs up, with no dissenting votes, I’ll have to give it a look [if I can find it].

  • AJNorth

    “Vertigo” and “Rear Window” are both exceptional films; however for myself, the quintessential 1950’s Hitchcock offering is “North By Northwest.”

    With a stand-out cast and production value, and one classic scene after another, N x NW is a perfect confluence of mistaken identity, murder, mayhem and screwball comedy. With a clever, sophisticated and witty screenplay by Ernest Lehman and set against another sensational score by Bernard Herrmann that kicks-off this roller-coaster of a confection (perfectly integrated into the classic “kinetic Main Title” by Saul Bass in which the C.I.T. Building in Manhattan ingeniously fades into view), and full stereo restored to its VistaVision and Technicolor photography, N x NW is a treat to the eyes, ears and mind.

    N x NW may not probe too deeply into the human psyche or examine the existential questions of life as “Vertigo” and Rear Window” do, but for sheer entertainment over repeated viewings, it’s the one at the top of my short list.

    • Chicago Mike

      ROT = Roger O. Thornhill…..the advertising man with nothing real at his core….he even says “I don’t even know who I am anymore.”

  • bsteele2

    Rear Window. I first saw it about 30 years ago on a large screen in an old movie theater. It was the perfect setting. It instantly became one of my all time favorites.

  • Briney

    I’ve enjoyed all of Hitch’s flicks. I voted “Vertigo” as my favorite. A haunting film, with beautiful Kim Novak at her very best in a dual role that mystifies Jimmy Stewart’s character as a mislead retired detective. . It is a great film, despite the fact critics were unable to give it a fair rating on release. Today, it has finally been recognized for its cinematic excellence.

    Critics were also slow in accepting “North By Northwest” which has one of the all time great scenes depicting a frightening loneliness. Hitch’ staged this scene with Cary Grant in a desolate desert. The stillness and quietude is occasionally punctuated by slight distant sounds of a plane starting up, but not before Hitch lifts the camera high to paint Cary Grant in complete isolation.

    Hitch said “Shadow of a Doubt” was his favorite. It’s also one of my favorites, too for its taught suspense weaved around an unsuspecting Theresa Wright.

    But overall, I’d watch any and all of them again and again, even his silent films which demonstrate his fantastic and masterful and entertaining story telling prowess.

    • moo moo

      I agree with you, I like them all, I adore Grace Kelly so I am going with Rear Window, but this was a difficult decision to make, because I do like Vertigo. Are you aware that some of the other actors/actresses in Vertigo went on to have series of their own? Barbara Bell Geddes was Miss Ellie on Dallas, Raymond Bailey (who played the doctor) was banker Drysdale in The Beverly Hillbillies and the proprietor of the McKittrick Hotel was none other than Ellen Corby, Grandma Walton.

  • Joe G.

    I love all of Hitchcock’s films. Very clever and entertaining. I voted for North by Northwest, although Rear Window, in my opinion, is its equal.

  • Bruce Reber

    For me it was a three-way tie between “Vertigo”, “North By Northwest” and “Strangers On A Train”. All three are excellent, but I had to vote for “Vertigo” as Hitchcock’s best 50’s film.

  • Manuel Santayana

    I cannot understand how anyone could choose “North by Northwest” (or any other Hitchcock film in his whole directorial career) over “Vertigo”, which recently appeared on a poll as the greatest film of all time, rising above “Citizen Kane”. “N by N” is a faster-paced adventure film, and Cary Grant always makes a movie worth watching; but the cinematic techniques used in “Vertigo”, the stars’ performances and the Wagnerian score make it the most unforgettable of Hitchcock’ s films, even though it lacks the comedic side of other works by the Master of Suspense. Maybe the fact that the mood is more sustained, and the characters’ response to their situations more believable, makes it rise above the rest as the supreme suspense thriller. .

    • Antone

      The thing I can’t understand is why people get upset when others don’t agree with them. I could not care less that North By Northwest is leading my Rear Window by almost 10%. As a matter of fact, I’m happy to support an underdog—especially at the race track. Viva la difference!

  • Lorraine M.

    This was a tough one. I wanted to select the winner, “North By Northwest,” because I love Cary Grant’s wit and resourcefulness, his chemistry with leading lady Eva Marie Saint and character actress par excellence Jessie Royce Landis, and the weirdly fun performances of James Mason and Martin Landau. A great adventure-romance film.
    But I chose the darkly romantic “Vertigo.” I don’t know why exactly, except that its themes of obsession and self-deception are so gripping, especially in the deeper, second half of the movie. Beautiful and vulnerable Kim Novak (whom Hitchcock didn’t even want for the double role) gives the performance of her career and James Stewart has never been more maddeningly compelling. You don’t even like him for most of the movie–he bullies the tormented shopgirl Judy into transforming herself into a dead woman and ignores the loyal, loving Barbara Bel Geddes, wounding her with his tone-deaf indifference.
    Yet somehow you care about him anyway, you know he’s headed for disaster, and you don’t want to see him destroyed by his fears and fixations.
    So, “Vertigo” it is.

  • Lorraine M.

    And the score–!! How could I fail to mention Bernard Herrmann’s towering, unforgettable music??! (“Vertigo”)

  • College Professor

    Gotta be Vertigo. The high-def VistaVision restoration in both audio and video is producing addiction! A perfect movie and one of the most important films of the 20th Century.

  • Mark W. Johnson

    There is only one answer to this question – “Vertigo”. Even The American Film Insitute, and some film critics, haved named it the most important film of the 20th century, over “Citizen Kane”. Imagine! For decades, ‘Kane’ was considered the best of american cinema, and now “Vertigo” is getting it’s due. It is just simply the best psychological love story, and best murder mystery, put on film, period. Jimmy Stewart’s and Kim Novack’s performances are unsurpassed, and Bernard Hermann’s score, and the beautiful cinematography, are exceptional. Get it on blu-ray.

  • Dicken Hall

    “North by Northwest” is not only the BEST Hitchcock film of the 50’s, and it is not only the BEST Hitchcock film EVER, it is the BEST film to come out of HOLLYWOOD EVER, as far as I am concerned, and I have seen it more than 20 times, beginning in 1959, and ending week before last, when watching Turner Classic Movies’ copy on television. The love scene on the train going to Chicago, lasting most of the night, between Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint is just as superb now as it was 55 years ago, as is James Mason’s aloofness when first meeting Cary Grant on Long Island, New York, or the ultimate evil henchman, Martin Landau, when he “shoots” James Mason with Eva’s blank-loaded pistol before falling off one of the faces on Mount Rushmore, after being shot himself by a park ranger. The little dialogs that permeate the film with smooth comments, like Cary Grant after leaving the men’s restroom in the Chicago train station, when he explains to Eva: “big face, small razor”, as to why he took so long to clean up, is an ultimate smooth detailed comment. Similarily, his drunk-driving scene on the North coast of Long Island after being arrested, and calling his mother to bail him out of jail is a typical Grant exposition. I could go on for hours, detailing “WHY” I think this is the best film ever, but I won’t. See it yourself.