While I was already patiently awaiting Universal Studios release of their massive Alfred Hitchcock blu-ray box set, an even better bit of Hitchcock related news hit my e-mail account last month. Tom Ranieri and the top shelf crew at Portland's great Cinema 21 have done it again. Following in the footsteps of their stellar noir series, they've cobbled together an amazing lineup of ol' Alf's finest films for what's being dubbed the first annual Hitchcock festival. Best of all, the festival is entirely sourced from 35mm prints!
Now I've seen my fair share of classic films on the big screen , but what this festival has made me realize is that, 1) I've never seen my favorite Hitchcock film, The 39 Steps (or Vertigo, for that matter), projected on film before, and 2) with things progressing as they are, further and further towards an all-digital cinema future, this may be the last chance that most of us have to view these seminal, 20th century works on film.
Which is to say, you can expect to see me sitting in the balcony for as many of these films as I can possibly make it to during the series. Sure, we'll always have the option to pop in the nice new digital transfers at home, but c'mon, these films deserve a little more respect. Many props to Cinema 21 for giving 'em (and us) their proper due. It's completely without hyperbole when I say that this is THE movie event in Portland this coming month.
BTW, if you're in the mood to get a lil' academic with your readings of these films, I can recommend no better text than the late, great film theorist Robin Wood's Hitchcock's Films Revisited. Magnificent stuff, I tell ya!
The Master of Suspense: The First Annual Hitchcock Festival begins at Cinema 21 on Friday, November 2nd. More info available here.
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