Tippi Hedren reflects on “Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds” and her foundation

It’s the classic story of being in the right place at the right time. Newly moved to California in 1961, Tippi Hedren appeared in a television commercial that caught the eye of one of the most acclaimed filmmakers in history: Alfred Hitchcock. “Hitch” tracked Ms. Hedren down and cast her as Melanie Daniels in his classic film “The Birds.” She worked with him again alongside Sean Connery in “Marnie.” More than five decades later she continues to work, both on screen and in her continuing fight to stop the breeding of big cats through her THE ROAR FOUNDATION. And talent runs in the family. Her daughter, Melanie Griffith, is an Oscar-nominated actress and her granddaughter, Dakota Johnson, will star in the highly anticipated film version of “50 Shades of Grey.”

As she prepared for her upcoming appearance in Omaha this week at a charity screening of “The Birds” Ms. Hedren took some time to speak with me about the event and her foundation.

Mike Smith: You’re originally from Minnesota. Will this be your first visit to Nebraska?
Tippi Hedren: Not at all. I’ve been there before and I’m looking forward to returning and taking part in the festivities.

MS: How did you get the name “Tippi?”
TH: My father gave it to me. My baptismal name is Nathalie Kay Hedren and that was quite much for a little tiny girl. My father, who was of Swedish descent, started calling me “Touksa,” which is a Swedish term of endearment apparently. It went from Touksa to Tippi. And that’s the story!

MS: What do you think it is about “The Birds” that makes it a “must see” film more than 50 years after it was released?
TH: That movie has a life of its own! But when you do a Hitchcock film you know it’s going to be good but this has just been outrageous. One decade after the other. People like to be afraid and when you can be made afraid of something that you see every day that makes it even better.

MS: As with a lot of the screenings in Omaha, the artist Nicolosi has designed a special United States Post Office envelope to commemorate the event. Have you seen it yet?
TH: No, I haven’t.
MS: It’s a beautiful piece of work. I know you’re going to like it.
TH: I can’t wait to see it.

MS: Your daughter, Melanie, is a movie star in her own right and your granddaughter is about to star in what will surely be one of the most popular films of 2015. Have you ever felt the need, or have they ever asked you, for any advice on how to deal with Hollywood?
TH: Not really. I’ve never felt the need to talk with them. As a family we certainly respect each other’s talent but we’ve never given each other advice.

MS: “The Birds” was your film debut. Do you approach a film role the same today as you did back then?
TH: No. You have to understand that “The Birds” was a unique experience. For someone who had always wanted to be an actress, this was like Cinderella. I was chosen for the part because of a commercial I had done. I had been a model for the Ford Agency in New York City in the 1950s but the 1960s brought along the television and, of course, the television commercial. Commercials were financially lucrative, so much so that I was able to take three months off and travel around the world. Apparently Mr. Hitchcock became interested in me after seeing me in a commercial for a product called Sego, which was a diet drink. It was a commercial with a story line, not just a product plug. He asked Universal to find the girl in the commercial. Lo and behold, I had just moved back to California with Melanie and…
MS: Wow! Perfect timing.
TH: Perfect.

MS: Tell a little about your work with big cats.
TH: I’ve been rescuing big cats…lions and tigers…since 1972. This has become a major, major part of my life. I feel very strongly that these animals should not be bred and born in the United States to be sold as a pet or for financial gain. I’m very busy trying to get my second federal bill passed to stop the breeding. It’s titled the “Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act” and I hope your readers will look it up and write to their senators and congressmen to stop the breeding.

For more information on how to support Miss Hedren’s bill, go to https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/1998

Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” to Invade Omaha

On Friday, November 7th, Film Historian Bruce Crawford will present his 35th Classic Film Tribute by hosting a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” Crawford’s special guest that evening will be actress Tippi Hedren, star of the film as well as Hitchcock’s next film, 1964’s “Marnie.”

As with most Classic Film Tributes, artist Nicolosi has designed a commemorative U.S. Postal Envelope honoring the film and it will be unveiled at the event. The envelope will be available for purchase by fans and both Miss Hedren and Nicolosi will autograph it.

Crawford has brought many classic films to Omaha over the years, pairing each one with a special guest star. Recent films (and guests) include “Jaws” with Carl Gottlieb, “Young Frankenstein” with Cloris Leachman, “The Miracle Worker” with Patty Duke and “The Great Escape” with David McCallum.

The screening will be held at the beautiful Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge Street, Omaha, Nebraska. Tickets are now on sale and available locally at all Omaha Hy Vee Food Store customer service counters. Proceeds from the screening will benefit the Nebraska Kidney Association.

For more information, call 402-932-7200 or visit www.omahafilmevent.com

Tippi Hedren reflects on working with Alfred Hitchcock and the 50th Anniversary of “The Birds”

Tippi Hedren is known best for her roles in the Alfred Hitchcock films, “The Birds” and “Marnie”. This year “The Birds” is celebrating its 50th anniversary, yet the film is as popular as ever and still very relevant. Besides acting, Tippi also works with animal rescue at the Shambala Preserve, which is a 73-acre wildlife habitat which she founded in 1983. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Tippi about working with Hitchcock, his films and her work on the Shambala Preserve.

Mike Gencarelli: With “The Birds” celebrating its 50th anniversary, what is your most memorable experience with this film?
Tippi Hedren: There were so many of them, since it was such an overwhelming experience for me. “The Birds” was my first film. So not only having Alfred Hitchcock discover me in a commercial that I had done, but he took me under his wing – you might say. He put me under contract before I had even met him just based on my commercial and photo work. It was a very exciting time for me.

MG: Can you reflect on the film with about today’s audience and why the film is still relevant?
TH: “The Birds” really seems to have a life of its own. So many people are really enchanted with it. The fact that this film was even able to have been done is amazing. Year after year, the film gets introduced to a younger generation. When you watch it with the audience of today, when you see the telephones 50 years ago they start laughing. It is interesting for me. But on the other hand the film holds up so well. Fortunately Hitchcock always had his leading women dressing in very traditional clothes. I could wear that green suit right now and be perfectly in style, which I actually still have six of them today.

MG: I recently saw the HBO film “The Girl”, which was based on the making of “The Birds”; how accurate was the film to what happened?
TH: Yes the film was totally accurate. In fact, the writer Gwyneth Hughes came out to my Shambala Preserve, where I live and she spent an afternoon with me talking about my years with Hitchcock. So, yeah the film is absolutely accurate. Also at the time that she was writing she would also call me and discuss any issues or concerns.

MG: What are your feelings on seeing Sienna Miller playing yourself in the film?
TH: I thought she was wonderful. Sienna also came out to the preserve and I got to spend an afternoon with her as well. She called me several times during the filming, which was done in South America. There was a close comradery between all of us.

MG: In the final attack scene of the film; how many times did you have to shoot that?
TH: When I opened the door to that room and all those birds came flying at me and I was under attack for a full week from Monday to Friday. It was unbelievable and also very exhausting.

MG: How would you compare Hitchcock’s style to other director’s you’ve worked it?
TH: The thing that impressed me so much was that he was always so well prepared. He literally worked 9-5pm. At 5 o’clock, we had the martini shots…every day. Most directors will go into very late at night or tremendously long hours, which is actually the norm. With Hitchcock, he always kept to a schedule. That was pretty amazing.

MG: How did the production of “The Birds” and “Marnie” compare?
TH: They are two entirely different films. In “The Birds” you have the added problem of working with live animals, which is always a difficult situation. They do not care about being in a movie. So there is a great deal of difference. I loved doing “Marnie” since it was such a psychological piece and entirely different.

MG: My site partner told me that if I didn’t ask you about working with Sean Connery that he will quit, so tell us about working with him in “Marnie”?
TH: I was very fortunate having Rod Taylor as my leading man in “The Birds”. I was working with all  consummate actors including Jessica Tandy and Suzanne Pleshette. They were all great. So, it was kind of a surprise for me when they told me I was going to play Marnie. I play a compulsive thief that is so frigid that she screams every time a man comes near her. So when I was asked who would be playing Mark Rutland in the film, Hitchcock told me that it would be Sean Connery. I said “Sean Connery? The Sean Connery that just got out of ‘Dr. No’? Sean Connery, who could melt the iciest of blondes? Mr. Hitchcock, do you remember that Marnie is so frigid that she screams everything a man comes near her? How am I supposed to handle that?” He simply told me “It’s called acting my dear”. And that was the end of that [laughs].

MG: How was it being the topic of the season and guest starring on the season finale of “Cougar Town”?
TH: It was great fun. It was such a short piece. The whole season was about how can they find Tippi Hedren, so then at the very end is when I appeared. I wish it would have been a little longer but it was still a lot of fun.

MG: Tell us about the inspiration behind the film “Roar”?
TH: Well it goes back to 41 years ago when I started rescuing lions and tigers. I had just done two films in Africa. During those years, environmentalists all over the world were saying that if we didn’t do anything right then, which was 1969-70, to save the animals in the wild then by the year 2000 they would be gone. So my then husband (Noel Marshall) and I decided to do a film about the animals in the wild. We choose the great cat, because people are either enchanted with them, scared to death of them or think they should be admired from afar. We had seen an abandoned house while on a photo Safari in Mozambique. The owner had moved out since it flooded during the rainy season. So when he moved out a tide of lions moved in. It was the largest pride in all of Africa. We couldn’t count me but there was somewhere between 25-30 lions of all sizes that were living in this house. We thought that this was incredible. They were sitting in the windows looking like great portraits. There were going in and out of the doors. They were napping on the verandas. So we decided to use these animals as our stars. We then went back to California and got the script written. When we gave the script to the trainers of these Hollywood animals and they all came back to us laughing that this film could not be made. They told me to get my own animals for the movie. All of the sudden I had little lions and cubs all over my house. It was quite an experience and we learned right then and there that they are definitely not pets.

MG: Tell us about continued your work today with the Shambala Preserve?
TH: The preserve is 73-acres and it is very beautiful. We keep the animals that we rescue for the remainder of their lives. We give them huge areas in which to life, many of which are over an acre. It is so expensive though. I have to raise over a million dollars a year, which is quite difficult. I would appreciate if your readers can visit our website, http://www.shambala.org/ and see what we have to do in order to keep this going each year. I am doing everything I can and any help is appreciated since this place is so beautiful and necessary. I am also working on federal bill which will be introduced this month, which will stop the breeding of lions and tigers to be sold as a pets. So please look that up as well.

Blu-ray Review “Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection”

Starring: James Stewart, John Forsythe, Bruce Dern, Tippi Hedren, Karen Black, Priscilla Lane
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Format: Limited Edition
Number of discs: 15
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Universal Studios
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Run Time: 1759 minutes

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Man, when Universal says it is going to celebrate its 100th anniversary, they aren’t messing around. Earlier this month they released the stunning “Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection”. and now this release even tops that. This ultimate box set is jam-packed with 15 classic Hitchcock films including 13 that have never been released on Blu-Ray. “Psycho”‘ and “North by Northwest” are the only films in this set that have released previously. The 15 films are included in this “Masterpiece Collection” that span over three decades from 1942-1976 including “Psycho”, “The Birds”, “Vertigo”, “Rear Window”, “North by Northwest”, “The Man Who Knew Too Much”, “Marnie”, “Saboteur”, “Shadow of a Doubt”, “Rope”, “The Trouble with Harry”, “Torn Curtain”, “Topaz”, “Frenzy” and “Family Plot”.

These films feature some of the best talent and performances that Hollywood has to offer, including James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, Julie Andrews, Paul Newman, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, Tippi Hedren, Eva Marie Saint, Kim Novak, John Forsythe, Bruce Dern, Karen Black, Priscilla Lane and even Sean Connery. If 15 amazing Hitchcock films in high definition isn’t enough this release also includes over 15 hours of bonus features including a newly produced documentary for “The Birds”. If you could want any more Hitchcock (if that is possible), Warner Home Entertainment has recently released both “Strangers on a Train” and “Dial M for Murder 3D” to Blu-ray. This “Masterpiece Collection” is only set to be available for a limited time only for if you are a fan of Hitchcock, then I would highly recommend not missing this release.

Everyone knows that the legendary Alfred Hitchcock is the “Master of Suspense”.  He has directed some of cinema’s most thrilling and recognizable classics. This release is definitely the definitive collection and it showcases Alfred Hitchcock’s true cinematic talent.  The packaging for this release is similar to “Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection”. The 15 discs are packaged inside a really high-quality and sharp flipbook packaging with some amazing glossy images.  It also includes an exclusive 58-page collector’s book, called “The Master of Suspense”, which includes original artwork, trivia, and information about the films.  Besides “Psycho” and “North by Northwest”, which has been treated well on Blu-ray, each film has been digitally restored from high resolution film elements in order to guarantee the ultimate Hitchcock experience.

Here are the premises for the 15 films included: “Saboteur (1942)”: This riveting wartime thriller stars Robert Cummings as a factory worker who is falsely accused of sabotage and sets off on a desperate, action-packed cross-country chase to clear his name. “Shadow of a Doubt (1943)”: This thriller about a young woman (Teresa Wright) who comes to suspect that the uncle (Joseph Cotton) she idolizes may in fact be a murderer was considered Alfred Hitchcock’s personal favorite. “Rope (1948)”: Two friends strangle a classmate and then hold a party for their victim’s family and friends while their former teacher (James Stewart) becomes increasingly suspicious that his students have turned his intellectual theories into brutal reality. “Rear Window (1954)”: James Stewart and Grace Kelly star in this voyeuristic masterpiece about a photographer who becomes obsessed with watching his neighbors and discovers a possible murder. “The Trouble with Harry (1955)”: While no one really minds that Harry is dead, everyone has a different idea about what should be done with his body in this quirky mystery starring Shirley MacLaine and John Forsythe. “The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)”: James Stewart and Doris Day star as a vacationing American couple who accidentally become involved in an international assassination plot and must take matters into their own hands after their son is kidnapped. “Vertigo (1958)”: James Stewart and Kim Novak star in this dizzying web of mistaken identity, passion and murder involving an acrophobic detective and the mysterious blonde he rescues from the San Francisco Bay.

“North by Northwest (1959)”: Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint star in this edge-of-your-seat thriller about an adman who gets plunged into a realm of spy and counterspy and is abducted, framed for murder, chased and crop-dusted. “Psycho (1960)”: Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh star in this shocking classic about an unsuspecting visitor to the Bates Motel who falls prey to one of cinema’s most notorious psychopaths, Norman Bates. “The Birds (1963)”: ‘Tippi’ Hedren and Rod Taylor star in this horrific tale of nature gone berserk when thousands of birds flock into a seaside town and terrorize the residents in a series of deadly attacks. “Marnie (1964)”: ‘Tippi’ Hedren stars as Marnie, a compulsive liar and thief, who winds up marrying the very man (Sean Connery) she attempts to rob in this psychological thriller that races to an inescapable conclusion. “Torn Curtain (1966)”: Paul Newman and Julie Andrews star in this action-packed thriller about a world-famous scientist who goes undercover to get top-secret information and ends up running for his life from enemy agents. “Topaz (1969)”: John Forsythe stars as an American CIA agent who hires a French operative to travel to Cuba and investigate rumors of Russian missiles and a spy codenamed “Topaz”. “Frenzy (1972)”: In this morbid blend of horror and wit, the “Necktie Murderer” has the London Police on red alert and an innocent man (Jon Finch) is on a desperate quest to find the real criminal and clear his own name. “Family Plot (1976)”: Chaos ensues in this suspense-comedy when a phony psychic and her not-so-bright boyfriend cross paths with a slick diamond merchant and his beautiful girlfriend.

On the packaging Universal is pushing the fact that this release included PERFECT video and PERFECT sound and, hot damn, that is not a lie. I would literally call these perfect transfers. Here is the listings of the audio tracks available for each film. “Saboteur”, “Shadow of a Doubt”, “Rope”, “Rear Window”, “The Trouble with Harry”, “The Man Who Knew Too Much”, “Marnie”, “Torn Curtain”, “Topaz”, “Frenzy” and “Family Plot” all include a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono tracks. They all sound amazing on Blu-ray and work perfectly for each film. “Vertigo”, “Psycho” and “The Birds” include both a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, as well as a DTS Master-Audio 2.0 Mono. Lastly “North by Northwest” includes the movie impressive with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround track, as well as a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track.

If the amazing collection of 15 years isn’t good enough each film is packed with some really ace special features. “Saboteur (1942)” includes three featurettes including “Saboteur: A Closer Look”, “Storyboards: The Statue of Liberty Sequence” and “Alfred Hitchcock’s Sketches”. There are also Production Photographs and a Theatrical Trailer included. “Shadow of a Doubt (1943)” includes two featurettes including “Beyond Doubt: The Making of Hitchcock’s Favorite Film” and “Production Drawings by Art Director Robert Boyle”. There are also Production Photographs and a Theatrical Trailer included. “Rope (1948)” includes a featurette called “Rope Unleashed”, as well as Production Photographs and a Theatrical Trailer. “Rear Window (1954)” comes chock-full of goodies. First there is a commentary track with John Fawell, author of “Hitchcock’s Rear Window: The Well-Made Film”. There are a bunch of great featurettes including “Rear Window Ethics: An Original Documentary”, “A Conversation with Screenwriter John Michael Hayes”, “Pure Cinema: Through the Eyes of The Master”, “Breaking Barriers: The Sound of Hitchcock”, “Hitchcock-Truffaut Interview Excerpts” and “Masters of Cinema”. There is also Production Photographs and a Theatrical Trailer included, as well as a re-release Trailer Narrated by James Stewart. “The Trouble with Harry (1955)” comes with one feature titled “The Trouble with Harry Isn’t Over”. There are also Production Photographs and a Theatrical Trailer included. “The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)” includes a behind-the-scenes look into “The Making of The Man Who Knew Too Much”. There is also Production Photographs and a Theatrical Trailer included.

The next four films comes with the most impressive extras.  “Vertigo (1958)” comes with two audio commentary tracks with Associate Producer Herbert Coleman, Restoration Team Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz + more and there is also one with director William Friedkin. There are four featurettes including “Obsessed with Vertigo: New Life for Hitchcock’s Masterpiece” and “Partners in Crime: Hitchcock’s Collaborators”, “The Vertigo Archives” and “100 Years of Universal: The Lew Wasserman Era”.  As well as Hitchcock / Truffaut Interview Excerpts and the Foreign Censorship Ending.  Lastly this wraps up with the Theatrical and Restoration Theatrical Trailer. “North by Northwest (1959)” includes a commentary track from screenwriter Ernest Lehman.  As well as four featurettes including “The Master’s Touch: Hitchcock’s Signature Style”, “Cary Grant: A Class Apart”, “North by Northwest: One for the Ages” and “Destination Hitchcock: The Making of North by Northwest”.  I also am a huge fan of the isolated music-only audio track included.  Lastly, there is a stills gallery and theatrical trailers and a TV spot included. “Psycho (1960)” starts off with a commentary track from Stephen Rebello, author of “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho”. There are a bunch of amazing featurettes including “The Making of Psycho”, “Psycho Sound”, “In The Master’s Shadow: Hitchcock’s Legacy” and “The Psycho Archives”. There is also “Hitchcock-Truffaut Interview Excerpts” and “Newsreel Footage: The Release of Psycho” included.  Fans of “The Shower Scene” will be happy to find it here with and without Music and also in storyboards by Saul Bass. Lastly there are Posters and Psycho Ads, Lobby Cards, Behind-the-Scenes Photographs, Production Photographs and Theatrical and Re-release Trailers included.

“The Birds (1963)” is the only film wiht a newly produced extra, “The Birds: Hitchcock’s Monster Movie”. It also includes a rare Deleted Scene and Original Ending.  There is a featurette called “All About The Birds”. There is vintage “Tippi Hedren’s Screen Test” footage, as well as Hitchcock-Truffaut Interview Excerpts. There are two Universal International Newsreels included “The Birds Is Coming” and “Suspense Story: National Press Club Hears Hitchcock”. There are Storyboards, as well as Production Photographs and the theatrical trailer included. Lastly there is “100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics and The Lot”, which are also available on the “Universal Classic Monsters” release. “Marnie (1964)” comes with two featurettes “The Trouble with Marnie” and “The Marnie Archives” and wraps up with the Theatrical Trailer. “Torn Curtain (1966)” has two featurettes “Torn Curtain Rising” and “Scenes Scored by Bernard Herrmann”. There is also Production Photographs and a Theatrical Trailer included. “Topaz (1969)” includes Alternate Endings, as well as a featurettes “Topaz: An Appreciation by Film Historian and Critic Leonard Maltin” and “Storyboards: The Mendozas”. There is also Production Photographs and a Theatrical Trailer included. “Frenzy (1972)” includes one feature “The Story of Frenzy” and there is also Production Photographs and a Theatrical Trailer included. The last film “Family Plot (1976)” includes two features “Plotting Family Plot” and “Storyboards: The Chase Scene”. There is also Storyboards, Production Photographs and a Theatrical Trailer included.

If you are a Hitchcock fan, I know this release might be a little pricey but it is honestly worth every penny.  The films look not only impressive but like I said perfect.  You may find that the UK also has this release available for cheaper (when converted) but be warned since the UK box does not contain “North By Northwest.” So depends how much that film is worth to you, especially since it has been previously released. I just wait till my daughter (not 5 months old) will get to experience these films with me.  I am going to look forward to spending a lot of time introducing her to the masterpieces of Alfred Hitchcock.

Blu-ray Review “Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train”

Actors: Farley Granger, Ruth Roman, Robert Walker, Leo G. Carroll
Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Warner Bros.
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Run Time: 101 minutes

Film: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Strangers on a Train” has always been one of my favorite Hitchcock pictures. It really shows him at his pure best. I know, I know “Psycho” is amazing but this is a completely different type of picture. It literally keeps you on the edge of your chair from once the plot to “exchange” murders begins on that train. Warner Brothers delivers a really fantastic 1080p transfer within it’s aspect ratio of 1.36:1. The black and white film looks so crisp and sharp. The audio is also near-perfect with its DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track. Dimitri Tiomkin’s score really secures your seat placement on your couch.  There are two different cuts of this film on the Blu-ray. There is the final release version, which we all know and love and then there is the preview version which runs about two minutes longer and features some alternate takes. They are subtle changes but if you are a hardcore fan of Hitchcock, you are going to want both versions.

The special features are ported from previous DVD releases but still great.  There is a jam-packed commentary track with Alfred Hitchcock, Peter Bogdanovich, Joseph Stefano, Patricia Hitchcock O’Connell and about fifteen others who pop in. Obviously, it is edited together and done very well. Next up with five behind-the-scene featurettes, including “Strangers on a Train: A Hitchcock Classic”, which is a nice chat with Peter Bogdanovich and a few others about film. “Strangers on a Train: The Victim’s P.O.V.” looks into the shot uses for Laura Elliot in the film (one of my favorite shots). “Strangers on a Train: An Appreciation by M. Night Shyamalan” is the “The Sixth Sense” director’s tribute to Hitchcock.  “The Hitchcocks on Hitch” is a chat with both Hitchcock’s daughter and granddaughter. “Alfred Hitchcock’s Historical Meeting” is a short extra with the director meeting up with actors made up as historical characters. Lastly there is the theatrical trailer included.

Premise: Before anyone though of “throwing Momma from the train,” the idea of a double “crisscross” murder has already been hatched. Or “hitched,” as in Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train”. Tennis star Guy Hanies (Farley Granger) half-jokingly muses about killing his wife with a stranger he meets on a train, unhinged playboy Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker), who’d prefer his father be deceased. In theory, each could murder the other’s victim. Crisscross. No motive. No clues. No problem…except: Bruno takes the idea seriously, with deadly consequences.

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3D Blu-ray Review “Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder 3D”

Actors: Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings
Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Run Time: 105 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

When I found out that Hitchcock’s “Dial M for Murder” was being released on 3D Blu-ray, I was thrilled to see this picture as it was original intended to be seen.  The film itself is still great, though the 3D presentation is not as impressive.  I feel like Hitchcock didn’t really embrace the format and didn’t use it to it’s fullest.  I recently saw “Creature from the Black Lagoon” on 3D Blu-ray and let me tell you that blew me away.  That film really took advantage of the 3D format.  Overall, it is still great to have the film as it was seen in the theaters, even if the 3D isn’t perfect. Hardcore fans of Hitchcock, will enjoy this opportunity for sure.

Warner Brothers delivers both the  2D and 3D version of this film with both transfers presented in 1.78 aspect ratio. The colors are sharp and look nice on Blu-ray, though there are a few scenes that is some noticeable fuzz.  The audio sounds great with its DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track.  This works really well its Dimitri Tiomkin’s score and makes it comes it life.  The special features are also a let down, there is just one short SD feature called “Hitchcock and Dial M”, which runs about 20 minutes. Lastly there is also a theatrical trailer included for this release.

Synopsis: When American writer Mark Halliday visits the very married Margot Wendice in London, he unknowingly sets off a chain of blackmail and murder. After sensing Margot’s affections for Halliday, her husband, Tony Wendice, fears divorce and disinheritance, and plots her death. Knowing former school chum Captain Lesgate is involved in illegal activities, Tony blackmails him into conspiring to kill Margot. When she kills Lesgate in self-defense, Tony implicates her as being guilty of premeditated murder. Halliday must out-stratagize Tony to save Margot’s live.

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Book Review “Alfred Hitchcock: The Complete Films”

Author: Paul Duncan
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Taschen
Release Date: April 1, 2011

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Mystery is mystifying; it is an intellectual thing. Suspense is an emotional thing.” — Alfred Hitchcock

Who doesn’t love the work of Alfred Hitchcock. He is the master of suspense and will never be forgotten in the world of cinema. Taschen really scored another winner with this release. It is about 200 pages, hardback and yet sells for a very reasonable $10 dollars. It is a real celebration of Hitchcock’s work and covers his complete film history. I think the book could be a little more in depth like Taschen’s “The Stanley Kubrick Archives” but this definitely does the job, especially for its price.

The best part of this book are the pictures and their captions. They are presented in large scale and really sharp presentation. This is not the most in-depth analysis of Hitchcock but it definitely satisfies the basic fan of his work. The book does provide a decent overall of his classic films like “The Birds”, “Vertigo”, “Rear Window” and of course “Psycho”. It ranges not only from his earliest silent films to his last picture in 1976, it also focuses on his life. One of my favorite parts of this books is the list of his cameos, that is always just a fun task while watching his films.

The images in the book are very high quality and if they are in black and white or color, they still are very clear and looks fantastic. I also like the behind-the-scenes look into his films, I have never seen some of these images before and it is a real treat. Hitchcock was such a unique filmmaker with techniques that will never be able to be replicated. For people looking to find out some interesting information of Hitchcock’s career, this would be the book for that. Taschen delivers another hit and I look forward to future topics that they will cover.

Interview with Alfred Rubin Thompson

Alfred Rubin Thompson started out his entertainment career as Hip-Hop artist “The Icon”. During this time an offer came his way which led his career into a new direction that has proved very successful for Alfred. Movie Mikes had a chance to catch up with Alfred to talk about his career and some of his upcoming projects.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us what made you want to start acting?
Alfred Rubin Thompson: I grew up in Hollis, Queens during the same time as Russell Simmons and Run DMC, who were very much into business. I had started out in music first. After a few years of being in the entertainment business, I was in church one Sunday and was asked to play the voice of God in a play. That same day I was asked by another woman to play the same role in her play which was being put on at the Macauley Theater. I kind of took that as my sign to move into the direction of acting. During the second play, I was approached to try out for a commercial. From there I got my first feature film on BET, “Winner Takes All” and it has just taken off since.

AL: Can you tell us about the film “Decisions”?
ART: “Decisions” was released this Spring in select theaters across the country. I play the character of Oakland Nate, who is a crooked music producer. We shot the movie last year and this is the last film to feature Corey Haim. “Decisions” is about four guys who are trying to figure out a way to get out of their normal everyday lives. During the characters search they get caught up in a bank robbery which leads to some other problems for them. The thought behind the movie is to encourage proper decision making in your life. Often time one decision will impact other upcoming decisions later on in life. I had a great time working on the film. I think audiences are really going to enjoy it.

AL: Can you tell us what it was like working with Corey Haim?
ART: Corey was just a good guy. He was very outgoing and giving. He worked very hard on every scene to make sure the director had what they needed. We all were very shocked and sad when he passed away. It would have been great to see him in more projects as he got older. His work as a child actor was phenomenal. Corey was a really great guy and we all miss him.

AL: Can you tell us what it was like working with Will Farrell on Steve Carrell’s last episode of “The Office”?
ART: Oh my goodness! That was one of the most fun and extreme episodes. It’s one of those episodes where even if I wasn’t in it I would still sit back and just laugh. Working with Will was just hilarious. He’s such a comedic genius and his timing is perfect. Will is great person at heart and if you need him for something he’s there. Working on “The Office” in general was just great! NBC welcomed me with open arms. I thank God for that opportunity. That episode is going to go down as one of the best in history for NBC.

AL: Has there been any talk of your character being on the show again?
ART: There might be a possibility of my character coming back to kind of stir up something’s with the company. We will see. There have been talks about it but right now NBC is really focusing on the transition between Will Farrell’s character and some others that they are going to be bringing in. I think once they get that area of the show set you will see my character more.

AL: From your work in music, acting and voice over. Do you have a preference for one over the other?
ART: I enjoy all the talented crafts of the arts. You get to bring something different for each one. Acting allows me to convey emotion through movement, dialogue and facial expressions. Voice over work allows me to use just my voice to act out what the character is saying or doing. Music allows me to expression myself emotionally and let people know what I am thinking about different issues. I really enjoy the art of entertainment as a whole.

AL: Can you tell us about one of your other upcoming projects “Hemmingway and Gellhorn”?
ART: That is a project being done by HBO, who doesn’t do anything small! (Laughs) The project stars Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen and is based on Earnest Hemmingway’s memoirs from between 1936-1946. Getting to work with such a great group of actors and actress is really a pleasure. Most of my scenes in the film are with Clive Owen, as I play the character of Skinner. Clive is a witty and clever guy and it was great! HBO really believes in their projects as well as you as an actor. We just completed shooting the other day and I think the project is slated for release sometime in 2012. It’s a very interesting story that I think people will enjoy.

AL: Do you have any other upcoming projects?
ART: I was shooting a project the other day for Nickelodeon, which I can’t say too much about but I do have another shoot with them next month as well. I am up for a few more films which I hope will keep me busy throughout the summer which is really great.