Thursday, 27 August 2009


It seems to be generally agreed that this remake by Alfred Hitchcock of his own 1930's English thriller is inferior to the original. Unfortunately that has led some to dismiss the film as a failure and it is far from that. That it is suspenseful goes without saying and even the Doris Day hit song is playfully woven (if somewhat self consciously) into the plot which tells of an American couple whose son is kidnapped to stop them revealing knowledge of an assassination. Doris Day is a fine dramatic actress with a particular talent for portraying normality and Hitchcock uses this to great effect and James Stewart is quite superb at exploiting the hysteria that lurks just beneath the surface of his more obvious persona. For the film buffs there are some interesting faces in the cast. Look out for Noel Willman (who was the vampiric Dr.Ravna in KISS OF THE VAMPIRE) and Hollywood heavy Leo Gordon in the non-speaking role of a villainous chauffeur. Look quickly and you'll spot Carolyn Jones as one of Doris Day's London friends and veteran Alan Mowbray playing real-life entrepreneur Val Parnell and an uncredited Richard Wordsworth (the cactus clawed astronaut from QUATERMAS EXPERIMENT) as a nervous taxidermist. London locations look like they might actually be in the areas they are supposed to be and, of course, it was great to see the grand finale in the Royal Albert Hall where I've spent many a happy evening. Rating ***

1 comment:

Cerpts said...

This has always been one of my least favourite Hitchcock films -- and I haven't even SEEN the original version! I didn't particularly dislike it but I prefer many others over this one. However, I haven't seen it for many years and I've been toying with picking up a copy of this movie for the last couple years because, while not a favourite, it's still very much worth watching.

And is it true that Doris Day absolutely HATED that song?!? I believe I heard that somewhere. I have always really enjoyed Doris Day's filmwork and have usually taken mild issue with those who dismiss her. She was pretty damn good, folks. She was actually a fine actress as well as a fine singer and I think the unenviable image she took on during the 50's (of the virginal ice queen) was thrust upon her and, in fact, not even accurate. As Molly Haskell quite rightly points out in her book, Doris Day is perfectly willing to hop right into bed with Rock Hudson during one point in PILLOW TALK but events conspire to block such an eventuality. She wasn't a frigid, unapproachable ice virgin but, in fact, simply just wasn't a slut.