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From the Vaults: Hitchcock in Rewind

By Marjorie Baumgarten, December 7, 2012, 4:15pm, Picture in Picture

Back in October when HBO debuted The Girl – the movie about Alfred Hitchcock's reported mistreatment of Tippi Hedron during the filming of The Birds – the Chronicle ran a series of Web-only articles, "How I Got Hitched," that focused on writers' personal relationships with the renowned filmmaker.

With the new movie Hitchcock opening today in Austin, we thought the occasion called for another look at these pieces.

Opening the series is Kimberley Jones' review of The Girl, wherein she describes Hitchcock's actions as beginning with "an initial ickiness that metastasizes into full-bore sexual obsession." Marc Savlov then kicked things up a notch with his story about the tattoo of Hitchcock's profile he had permanently inked onto his arm six years ago. Savlov also discusses Family Plot and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Next came reflections by Richard Whittaker, our token Brit staffer, on Hitchcock's early British film, and specifically, The 39 Steps. Margaret Moser told of how she and her brother Scott heartlessly mocked the fear that erupted in their little brother Stephen (who grew up to pen the Chronicle's column "After a Fashion") when they all watched The Birds together as children.

Aleksander Chen, who confesses to never having seen a Hitchcock movie, checked out North by Northwest and Rear Window and reports on the experience. That was followed by my discussion of Hitchcock's comic side in The Trouble With Harry and the lasting dichotomy between our perceptions of Hitchcock as both a popular entertainer and the warped individual. Finally, the series wrapped up with Kate X Messer's story of being haunted by a cracked piece of glass that looked like the outline of Alfred Hitchcock.

"How I Got Hitched" is hardly the final word on Hitchcock, but it is a fun and individualistically surveys the lasting place this filmmaker holds in our hearts.

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