If you like to be scared out of your theatre seat, you may want to visit the Stanford over the next two months. Silicon Valley’s classic movie palace opens its new series, Hitchcock and Other Masters of Suspense, this Friday. It closes Sunday, June 10.
All films will be screened in 35mm.
The series starts with a great Ingrid Bergman double bill: Casablanca and Gaslight. I probably shouldn’t have to tell you anything about Casablanca, other than it’s one of my all-time greatest films. Gaslight isn’t up to that caliber, but it’s still a fine entertainment. See it if only to find out where the term gaslighting came from.
Not surprising for a series with the name Hitchcock in its title, eight of the ten weekend programs will be double bills from the Master of Suspense. The best pairing in the group comes on Friday, May 11 through Sunday, May 13, with Shadow of a Doubt and Strangers on a Train. Other Hitchcock double bills include Notorious and Spellbound (May 4 – 6), To Catch a Thief and Rear Windows (May 25 – 27), and Psycho and The Birds (June 8 – 10).
For the record, both Notorious and Rear Windows are also on my all-time greatest film list.
Among the non-Hitchcock movies on the list, James Whales’ moody version of Frankenstein will be double-billed with the even better sequel, Bride of Frankenstein (April 20 – 22). These are the sort of horror films where you’re scared not only of the monster, but even more so for the monster – a young child in the body of a huge grotesque.
The Wednesday/Thursday programs aren’t, for the most part, as exciting (the theater is closed Mondays and Tuesdays). There’s only one double bill that I can eagerly recommend, and it’s the last one: Diabolique and The Wages of Fear, both directed by France’s answer to Hitchcock, Henri-Georges Clouzot. These are both amazing films.
Bride of Frankenstein
I can enthusiastically recommend The Night of the Hunter (April 25- 26) and Cape Fear (May 23 – 24), but I can’t tell you a thing about the movies they’re paired with (The Window and The Desperate Hours). They might be wonderful, but they might stink.