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Hitchcocktober Returns To The Angelika Film Center

Enjoy Five Classic Hitchcock Films This October

Teresa Wright plays a young woman who suspects her beloved uncle (Joseph Cott...

Credit: Universal Pictures

Above: Teresa Wright plays a young woman who suspects her beloved uncle (Joseph Cotton) of being a murderer in Alfred Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt."

Hitchcocktober Returns To The Angelika Film Center

GUESTS:

Ben Mankiewicz, TCM host

Beth Accomando, KPBS film critic

Hitchcocktober

Oct. 4: "Rear Window"

Oct. 11: Shadow of a Doubt"

Oct. 18: "Strangers on a Train"

Oct. 25: "The 39 Steps"

Oct. 31: "Psycho"

Angelika Film Center at Carmel Mountain kicks off its annual Hitchcocktober weekly film series on Thursday with "Rear Window."

Alfred Hitchcock's films are always best on a big screen and with an audience so you can share the delight of being manipulated by a master. Hitchcock loved to torment his viewers with storytelling and pacing that prolonged the tension and riveted you to the screen.

This year's Hitchcocktober at the Angelika Film Center includes predictable classics such as "Rear Window" and "Psycho." "Rear Window" is sheer perfection and never gets old. It's a tense, claustrophobic thriller filled with wicked humor and boasts marvelous performances by James Stewart as the wheelchair bound photojournalist who suspects a neighbor of murder; Thelma Ritter as his wisecracking physical therapist; Raymond Burr as the suspected killer; and a radiantly gorgeous Grace Kelly.

"Psycho" remains one of my favorite Hitchcock films but whenever I screen it for younger audiences that have become jaded by decades of graphic slasher films, they often seem unable to appreciate it and get giggly about the murders. But the film broke all sorts of rules in 1960 (most notably killing off its star early on in the film) and laid the groundwork for the slasher films to come.

But "Rear Window" and "Psycho" get screened often and many have seen them repeatedly. The more interesting choices of are "Shadow of a Doubt," "Strangers on a Train," and "The 39 Steps."

"Shadow of a Doubt" is an especially delectable treat about what can fester beneath the American Dream. Joseph Cotton is the charming uncle of the all-American girl played by Teresa Wright. But then the young girl begins to suspect her uncle of a brutal murder and that prompts a brilliant scene in a bar where Cotton talks about being the nightmare to interrupt her pretty little dreams.

He tells her: "How do you know what the world is like? Do you know the world as a foul sty? Do you know if you rip the fronts off houses you'd find swine? The world's a hell, what does it matter what happens in it?"

If you only see one of these films I urge you to make it "Shadow of a Doubt." It is one of Hitchcock's finest works.

"Strangers on a Train" serves up Farley Granger and a creepily off kilter Robert Walker in a tale of murder while "The 39 Steps" is an early Hitchcock spy thriller.

Hitchcock does not serve up traditional horror fare but he loves to ratchet up the tension to bring audiences to the edge of their seats with wickedly fun tales of murder and suspense. Perfect for the Halloween season.

Angelika Film Center at Carmel Mountain kicks off its annual Hitchcocktober weekly film series on Thursday with "Rear Window."

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