3rd October 2012

Hitchcock biopic set to leave us “Spellbound”

With the movie poster and release date unveiled last week, Sophie James anticipates the success of Sacha Gervasi’s “Hitchcock”

What’s black, white and red all over? The iconic image of one of the world’s greatest and most influential directors, Alfred Hitchcock.

Anyone who has been to the BFI, London this summer, or even been on the web, can’t have missed the image of Alfred Hitchcock fly-posted all over sunny South Bank. The BFI’s summer showcase unveiled restorations of his silent films and announced Vertigo to be Sight & Sound magazine’s greatest film of all time, celebrating that Hitchcock’s films are not only some of the most analyzed and influential in the history of film-making, but simply some of the best.

And last week a new image of the master of suspense graced our Google-searches. At first glance, it’s nothing unusual. Hitchcock stands, with his penguin-like posture, in black and white, suit and tie, fingers interlocked, looking down at us mere mortals in front of a bold, blood-red backdrop. Look again. That isn’t Alfred Hitchcock, but Anthony Hopkins – and that’s not a tie, it’s a knife!

This poster was released last week announcing the upcoming biopic Hitchcock, which will premiere at the opening of the AFI Fest on 1st November 2012. Based on the book “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho”, Hitchcock documents the not so smooth journey through the making of perhaps Hitchcock’s most memorable movie: Psycho. As well as academy award winner Anthony Hopkins, the film also stars Helen Mirren as wife and collaborator Anna Reville, and follows their relationship through the film-making process. Not just stopping there, the film’s star-studded cast goes onto feature Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel and Toni Collette.

The question is, how will the film fare amidst the current biopic boom? We’ve definitely been spoilt for choice recently, from figures as diverse as Meryl Streep’s Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady to Joy Division’s Ian Curtis in Anton Corbijn’s Control. What’s more, this trend sees no signs of stopping – with production underway for Mercury, the much-anticipated film with Sacha Baron Cohen depicting Freddie Mercury’s rise to stardom; and last week’s announcement that Natalie Portman will star as Jackie Kennedy Onnassis in the future biopic Jackie.

So could Hitchcock suffer by comparison? Fear not. Everything about Hitchcock screeches major success louder than the iconic motif from the Psycho soundtrack. With an academy-award winning cast and a screenplay by John J. McLaughlin (Black Swan), this film is sure to drown out the competition. What better way to put cinema centre-stage, than to focus on one of the biggest, most influential directors the film industry has ever seen?

Alfred Hitchcock himself said: “A lot of movies are about life, mine are like a slice of cake” and with such a killer combination of cast, crew and subject matter, I think it’s fair to say that this particular movie is set to let us have the whole cake and eat it.

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