Hitchcock’s Favorite Film Experience

The international film director so good he was called The Master, the renowned Alfred Hitchcock, was shrewd in never declaring a personal favorite among his films since there were so many gems in his cinema repertoire. The one area where he made his choice plain was with his favorite film experience.

It was understandable why there was a soft spot in Hitch’s heart for his classic work SHADOW OF A DOUBT starring Joseph Cotten and Teresa Wright. The lovely Sonoma County city of Santa Rosa, situated fifty-five miles north of San Francisco in the heart of the Golden State’s wine country, was the ideal spot to film the 1943 cinema classic. It had the kind of small town, family-oriented ambience for which Hitchcock was searching.

His reason for savoring the SHADOW OF A DOUBT film experience above others was the congeniality of the town folk and there couldn’t have been a more appropriate time for the famous director to appreciate it. A notable British émigré, Hitchcock was crushed by the fact that at a time when his mother was dying and he longed to visit her in England, World War Two and tight travel restrictions prevented his fervent desire from being fulfilled. The neighborly Santa Rosa citizenry appeared at the right time to make a tragic period more bearable for him.

Read all about the filming experience and the finished product itself as SHADOW OF A DOUBT is closely analyzed in my film historical work HITCHCOCK AND THE METHODS OF SUSPENSE.

Hitler Contrasted With Stalin

The daring new work FREUD MEETS HITLER in which two major contrasting forces of history lock horns contains another element embodied in Hitler meeting his old adversary Joseph Stalin.

The confrontation between Freud and Hitler involves a megalomaniacal world leader convinced that his Nazi philosophy will rule the world for one thousand years. When Hitler meets up with Stalin a confrontation emerges with a different twist than in the earlier test of wills.

Hitler operates from an unvarying position of self-righteousness. In the case of Stalin he encounters someone willing to throw off a yoke of religious zeal to advance a doctrine of vigorous self-assertion for his own benefit.

The action and ideas flow swiftly in FREUD MEETS HITLER.

Free Detective Noir Thriller!

My detective noir thriller SUNSET BOULEVARD MURDERS that details the busy and dangerous activities of Hollywood detective Jeff Kelly in 1949 is currently available for a FREE DOWNLOAD on the Amazon Kindle site between now and Sunday.

The book, which includes authentic people and locations from the post-World War Two Hollywood cinema scene, involves the effort of Jeff Kelly to find the killer or killers of beautiful blonde actress Lila Lamont before he himself becomes a homicide victim. SUNSET BOULEVARD MURDERS stands currently in the number 59 position in the highly competitive Mystery, Thriller and Suspense category on the Amazon Kindle site.

This work can be downloaded on the Amazon Kindle site between now and Sunday for, to repeat, absolutely free. Take advantage of the opportunity and then step into the glamor world of Tinsel Town in 1949.

Film Noir’s New Girl in Town

Young Jane Greer was only some four years removed from her high school graduation in Washington, D.C. when she arrived in Hollywood after a period of modeling, winning local beauty pageants and a stint as a professional vocalist. It took little time before the raven-haired beauty was before the cameras at RKO Studios starring in one of the most highly acclaimed film noir masterpieces.

The film was OUT OF THE PAST and a double irony surrounded this highly acclaimed work, which has increased in audience and critical esteem in the better than two generations following its release. The first irony is that this masterpiece consisted of three lead performers and one prominent feature player, all of whom were under thirty and without major star recognition.

The second ironic point was that the kind of magic bestowed through a brilliant script generated ageless performers who, through commandingly deploying the brilliant dialogue of scriptwriter Daniel Mainwaring, seemed to defy time itself through philosophical renderings about the vagaries of life and cruelties of fate so that the team of stars Jane Greer, Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas as well as leading feature performer Rhonda Fleming loomed as characters defying time itself and possessing the dark secrets of the ages.

The tough, well honed story line surrounds the predatory and homicidal opportunism of Greer to get what she wants or else. Her captivating beauty so dominates competing suitors Mitchum and Douglas that they pursue her despite full awareness of her treachery. Lest anyone forget that this is power-packed film noir, Mainwaring’s script involves not one but two femmes fatale in Greer along with treacherous and opportunistic Rhonda Fleming.

This great film is closely analyzed with an emphasis on Jane Greer’s femme fatale brilliance in EARLY FILM NOIR, available through the Amazon Kindle network. A partial of the book is available currently on this site.

Peace Through Understanding

The words peace through understanding lie at the hallmark of two books available through Amazon Kindle that seek to enable peaceful understanding to emerge by studying the backgrounds of Arabs and Jews, and of seeking to realize inherent points in Zionism, the Bible and the Koran.

My work encompassing 3,500 years of Middle East history, STRUGGLE FOR THE HOLY LAND, and its sequel,WHOSE GOD? WHOSE LAND?, seek to enhance understanding of the region where conflict now rages in Syria and so many conflicts have occurred through the years. Such understanding is enhanced by studying history from the standpoint of the involved groups with the thought of using peaceful negotiation to take hold and legal agreements to emerge that recognize the rights of all parties.

STRUGGLE FOR THE HOLY LAND currently occupies the number 69 position among historical works involving the Middle East. Perhaps my most gratifying experience in writing the book is that both Jewish and Arab elements have expressed delight in its structural and analytical objectivity. This book and its recently released sequel WHOSE GOD? WHOSE LAND? seek to enhance peace prospects through understanding roots of all parties and to apply conflict resolution when needed.

Hollywood Detective Uses Awesome Author

SUNSET BOULEVARD MURDERS in the buy books online category finds a shrewd Hollywood detective in the Spring of 1949 using one of the best American writers to help solve a case that has Hollywood Police baffled.

Detective Jeff Kelly becomes friends with awesome writer Raymond Chandler.  The world famous detective novelist meets Kelly at Nickodells on Melrose, where Kelly’s drinking friend film star Robert Mitchum also imbibes.  After all, the place is next door to RKO Studios, where Mitchum is under contract.

When beautiful blonde actress Lila Lamont is killed after meeting Kelly at The Coach and Horses on Sunset Boulevard the entire Hollywood movie colony gets caught up in the frenzy to find her killer.  When Raymond Chandler becomes intrigued he agrees to become involved in the kind of Hollywood murder that he has become famous for writing about.

So famous Sunset Boulevard is in the limelight once more.  SUNSET BOULEVARD MURDERS finds Jeff Kelly and awesome writer Raymond Chandler teaming up to solve the murder of a beautiful blonde actress.

SUNSET BOULEVARD MURDERS is available in the buy book online category through Amazon Kindle.

The Road to Film Noir

The road to film noir contains all kinds of interesting surprises along the way.  Film noir works available on this site cover important milestones concerning this popular genre.

The first, as implied by the title, is EARLY FILM NOIR.  This work features director John Huston’s milestone work THE MALTESE FALCON based on the popular Dashiell Hammett novel.  Humphrey Bogart’s impressive effort as San Francisco private detective Sam Spade propelled him into the ranks of superstardom and positioned him for another film noir blockbuster as Raymond Chandler’s detective Philip Marlowe in director Howard Hawks’ masterwork THE BIG SLEEP.

There are practical as well as artistic reasons why Los Angeles was a perfect city for film noir productions.  This idea is closely explored in L.A. NOIR.  Raymond Chandler spent his first night in L.A. in Bunker Hill, a short ride uphill from downtown L.A. via the ironically named Angel’s Flight streetcar.  It was home to those who had plummeted after better times and those who were just used to living in dangerous surroundings.  It gave all kinds of creative ideas to new arrival Chandler and served as the setting for director Robert Siodmak’s CRISS CROSS starring Burt Lancaster, Yvonne De Carlo and Dan Duryea.

Film noir was an ideal creative vernacular for the creative talents than the director appropriately dubbed ¨The Master¨, Alfred Hitchcock.  This concept is explored in HITCHCOCK AND THE METHODS OF SUSPENSE.  The British and later American creative directorial genius took noir to stupendous levels with the San Francisco set color classic VERTIGO starring James Stewart and beautiful young blonde arrival to the leading lady ranks, Chicago born and bred Kim Novak.

A turn onto Sunset Boulevard furnishes the world of 1949 Hollywood detective Jeff Kelly, who needs to solve the murder of beautiful blonde starlet Lila Lamont or risk losing his own life in the process since her killers are determined to eliminate him.  SUNSET BOULEVARD MURDERS is a realistic, authentically set detective noir post-World War Two thriller.

So this is the film noir trail with the appropriate titles and free samples of the aforementioned works that are available via Amazon Kindle that are being showcased at the Books by William site.

Hitchcock Now At Number 24

The non-fiction cinema work HITCHCOCK AND THE METHODS OF SUSPENSE currently stands in the Number 24 position in the current Movies and Videos listings at Amazon Kindle.

There are some outstanding biographies available on the director called The Master.  This work is biographical not in terms of the events of the great director’s life, but is in the sense that the famous Hitchcock cinema trademark embellished on his works is analyzed to determine what made him so successful in bringing his films in on time and under budget or at budget rather than over the mark.

In terms of what made Hitchcock’s films so consistently successful, HITCHCOCK AND THE METHODS OF SUSPENSE explores one consistent practice he repeated.  That was Hitchcock’s shrewd instinct of knowing what interested audiences at certain points in time.  The irony is that even though Hitchcock was apolitical, his instinct of knowing what was then in prominent public consciousness made him resemble political spin control specialists.

The difference is that spin specialists use their skills to elect politicians.  In Hitchcock’s case the idea was to focus on a subject very much in the public mind at that point, then find a story to match that desire.  After that he would toss his Hitchcock specialty graphics onto the scene.  After all, isn’t this exciting industry built around a camera and the interesting uses to which it can be put?

Jeff Kelly Patrols Sunset Boulevard

Jeff Kelly patrols Sunset Boulevard in the throbbing and pulsating post-war year of 1949.  This is a period when all kinds of veterans from all over America who trained for World War Two duty have moved with their families to Southern California’s sunny climate.

Two places are red hot for action in the excitement-filled early post-war period.  One is the San Fernando Valley, where scores of newcomers move into reasonably priced homes as fast as the construction folks can build them.  Another area ripe for action is the motion picture industry.  In the post-war prosperity boom folks are interested in entertainment and theaters play to packed houses.

With the film industry booming there are scores of beautiful young women who arrive daily from towns throughout America with the thought of becoming the next Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford or Lana Turner.  This is where Kelly becomes involved in the film scene.

A gorgeous blonde actress named Lila Lamont has come to Hollywood from Southern California’s High Desert.  When she is abducted and killed after Jeff Kelly has escorted her to her car in the parking lot outside the Coach and Horses, one of the detective’s regular watering holes, the dead girl’s father hires him to find the killer or killers.

SUNSET BOULEVARD MURDERS is the first volume of a series starring Hollywood detective Jeff Kelly.  As he begins his investigation to solve Lila Lamont’s murder he realizes that he needs to solve the case before he is rubbed out since he quickly becomes a target of the killer or killers of the beautiful actress.

SUNSET BOULEVARD MURDERS is available via Amazon Kindle.

James Stewart, Mr. Natural Scores Big with Hitchcock

James Stewart was a Mr. Natural of film, someone who steps out before cameras in seemingly effortless fashion, scoring big with audiences all over the world as a typical average guy who would make a great friend and neighbor.

MGM Studios got a big surprise once when a survey was taken to see how their stars fared with the regular folks who attended theaters.  Moguls were shocked when Stewart, whose films did commanding box office business, barely showed up in the poll.

When moguls requested the poll takers to retrace their steps to learn why the popular Stewart had barely registered in the poll the result was a big plus for MGM and the tall, lanky actor.  Person after person delivered the same response.  ¨We didn’t think of Stewart because we don’t think of him as an actor, ¨ the explanation went.

In other words, Stewart reminded these moviegoers more of the guy they had coffee with in a neighborhood diner or popcorn with in the local movie theater than a leading man up on the screen.  He was one of them, one of the people, and so it went for him during a long career of major success with nary a bump on his success highway.

Leave it to the wily Alfred Hitchcock to use this typical fellow citizen and likable guy in just the right way in the superb fifties vehicles THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH and VERTIGO.  In the earlier 1956 release Stewart appeared opposite his female acting parallel, popular lady next door Doris Day.  Hitchcock showcases two typical Americans traumatized when their son is kidnapped and held captive in London.  In the latter release two years later retired police detective Stewart is driven out of his usually sensible and logical state by dazzling blonde Kim Novak as she is manipulated by her diabolical handler played by Tom Helmore, an actor Hitchcock used back in his early London days.

The Stewart-Hitchcock screen relationship is fleshed out in my book HITCHCOCK AND THE METHODS OF SUSPENSE, available via Amazon Kindle with a free sample available on this site.