Tuesday, December 29, 2015

This Never Gets Old

If you're at all a fan of cinema, you had the book.   I know I did.   My paperback edition of "Hitchcock/Truffaut" fell apart and is now nothing more than disjointed pages.   Except for perhaps the annual New York Mets yearbook, no book got played by me more than this one.

For those who don't know what the hell I'm talking, the legendary film genius Alfred Hitchcock sat down for a series of recorded conversations back in 1962 with the then-still-novice French director Francois Truffaut.  The dialogue, which is nothing more than Truffaut interviewing Hitchcock about his film career, was essentially printed verbatim in a book that has been reprinted dozens of times over the years.  

And with good reason.   It digs into Hitchcock's film catalog in so much depth.   The book turns out to be a master class in movie making.  And you learn all the nuances and trickery that Sir Alfred employed to scare and entertain film audiences over the years.

Well, director Kent Jones takes those taped conversations and fashions into a wonderful documentary called...wait for it..."Hitchcock Truffaut."  Essentially, it's nothing but a rehash of the legendary book.   But, Jones is smart to pepper it with observations from such current-day directors as David Fincher and Martin Scorsese.  You've seen and read it all before.   But, suddenly, it's all new again.  

Through the voices of Hitchcock, Truffaut, and their modern colleagues, you gain one more time a new appreciation of the master Hitchcock.   There are so many film clips here that you have seen over and over a dozen times.   Yet, as they unspool in this documentary, you have no problem seeing them again.   That's the true mark of a great director.   You can watch the same movie ten times and still see something new each time.

It got me to thinking back to when I was a kid.   I was young and basically my film viewing library were cartoons and Disney features.   My older cousin came over to take me to the movies and, without blinking, took me to see "The Birds."   I felt so adult and I will never ever forget that one cousin for introducing me to Alfred Hitchcock.   It's been a love affair ever since.

That's why "Hitchcock Truffaut", as repetitive a documentary it is, winds up still being pure gold.

And it made me go home that very night to dip one more time into my Hitchcock DVD collection.   As it should be.

LEN'S RATING:  Three-and-a-half stars.

Dinner last night:  A great stuffed beef filet---annual holiday dinner with good friends Amir and Kevin.

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