Apparently written to pass the time while the author was recovering from a skiing accident, this ended up being the first of nineteen novels featuring Inspector Henry Tibbett. Having really enjoyed the intricately plotted Who Is Simon Warwick?, one of the later books in the series, I decided to go back to the beginning, which opens with our protagonist heading off on holiday in the company of his clever wife Emmy. The Italian setting was another draw for me, though I steeled myself for some seemingly inevitable caricatures …
I submit this review for Bev’s Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt; and Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.
For many this is the best of the Holmes and Watson films made by Universal. It is certainly the most successful as a whodunit and possibly the darkest too. It was originally titled Sherlock Holmes in Canada and it is the only entry to be set entirely overseas, mostly taking place in the spooky little Quebec town of ‘La Mort Rouge’ (a reference of course to Poe rather than Doyle). Holmes and Watson are at a conference when they receive a telegram from Lady Penrose asking for help, but it arrives too late, so they set out to solve her grisly murder, the first of many.
The following is offered for Todd Mason’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme at his fab Sweet Freedom blog.
Drum roll please … Having gone through a week of voting for the favourite films directed by Alfred Hitchcock on a decade by decade basis, this was meant to lead to a top 10, though we ended up with a tie for the 1950s and so I decided to turn it into a top 11 instead!
And these are how those results got ranked – so in reverse order (to maintain, you know, some suspense, the results are …), and adding the original votes with the ones for the ranking (meaning that the film with the highest number of votes, Psycho, didn’t come at the top due to the final rankings), is as follows, beginning on the cusp of the switch from silent to sound cinema:
Posted in 'In praise of ...', Alfred Hitchcock, Boileau-Narcejac, California, Cold War, Cornell Woolrich, Ed McBain, England, Espionage, Film Noir, Film Poll, London, New York, San Francisco, Scotland, Spy movies, World War II
Well, the polls are now closed and the results are in. First things first though – the response to this celebration of the 53 films directed by Alfred Hitchcock was really gratifying, so special thanks to everyone who joined in.
Ultimately nearly 650 votes were cast and nearly every one of his films got at least one vote – if you want to see which didn’t, and which came out on top, then keep on reading, where you will also find a poll of polls – we have now a top 10 based on the results and we have the opportunity to rank these 10 – but beware, you only get one vote, so make it count!
Posted in 'In praise of ...', Alfred Hitchcock, Amnesia, Arizona, Boileau-Narcejac, Cold War, Cornell Woolrich, Ed McBain, England, Espionage, Film Noir, Film Poll, London, New England, New York, Psycho, Robert Bloch, San Francisco, Scotland, Spy movies
Hitchcock’s life and career changed forever with the release of Psycho in 1960. Made on a tight budget, its enormous success made him a very wealthy man and saw him change studios to Universal for the rest of his career. He was now finally being taken seriously as a filmmaker, books were being written about him (the interview tome by Truffaut merely the most famous) and he was now the biggest star of his own films. He finally had the freedom and resources to make almost anything he wanted (or so he thought, until he tried making an experimental erotic thriller entitled Kaleidoscope Frenzy which was cancelled by the studio even after very expensive tests were made). Ultimately though, was this a good thing?
Posted in 'In praise of ...', Alfred Hitchcock, Amnesia, Boston, Cold War, Cuba, Daphne Du Maurier, Ed McBain, Espionage, Film Poll, France, Germany, London, New York, Norway, Paris, Psycho, Robert Bloch, San Francisco, Spy movies, Sweden, Washington DC
Inspector Fabian Risk is the protagonist of this ultra dark Swedish thriller with a quite remarkably high body count. Here’s the blurb:
Two gruesome murders have shocked the Swedish town of Helsingborg. The first victim, a thug who liked using his fists, died with his hands sawn off. His sidekick, a fan of steel-capped boots, was crushed to death feet-first. Both men were bullies in the same class at school. Is someone serving justice after thirty years? Lead investigator Fabian Risk was also a student in that class—which makes him both a potential victim and a suspect …
This was the decade when Hitchcock truly became a superstar – along with a string of critically acclaimed and commercially successful films he became the host of his own TV shows Alfred Hitchcock Presents (and later, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour), leading to a slew of merchandising deals that saw the creation of the Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and a series of books for young adults, The Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Detectives series in which he appeared as himself.
Posted in 'In praise of ...', Alfred Hitchcock, Boileau-Narcejac, California, Canada, Cornell Woolrich, Edmund Crispin, Espionage, Film Noir, Film Poll, France, London, Los Angeles, New England, New York, Noir, Patricia Highsmith, Ray Milland, San Francisco, Screwball, Spy movies