Saturday, June 14, 2014


Year 6, Day 164 - 6/13/14 - Movie #1,763

BEFORE: Ooh, a sexy mystery for Friday the 13th, and I didn't even plan that!  Tippi Hedren completes a hat-trick tonight, or should that be called a Tipple Play?  Tippi Hedren Triple-Header, try saying that one five times real fast!  Just please, no more pecking birds.

THE PLOT: Mark marries Marnie although she is a habitual thief and has serious psychological problems, and tries to help her confront and resolve them.

AFTER: Oh, a SEXIST mystery.  Sorry, I must have misheard.  At first this might seem like your average heist film mixed with a romance, something akin to "How to Steal a Million" with Audrey Hepburn, or "The Thomas Crown Affair", but Hitchcock added a lot of psychological stuff, which sort of takes over the second half of the film. 

Marnie Edgar is a thief, that much is obvious, but in trying to get behind WHY she's a thief, Hitch took a stab at connecting the psychological dots, much like he did in "Spellbound" with amnesia, and I'm just not sure that the connections are valid.  You can't just say that the human brain works a certain way just because that suits your plot - wouldn't it make more sense to do a little research into, say, kleptomania, or the effects of childhood trauma, and portray something akin to what might take place in the real world?

Nope, Hitchcock just sort of forged ahead and made Marnie a complex creature - where this past trauma, and her lack of sexual desire, and a fear of the color red, and her desire to steal large sums of money, is all tied together.  But for the life of me, I can't justify all these things working together, or at least not being in conflict with one another.  Oh, sure, there's an explanation for it all, but it seems like he worked backward from the justification, and that's really putting the cart before the horse.

(But wait, I think maybe with "Psycho" he did the same thing, I feel like he knew who he wanted Norman Bates to be at the end, and then spent the whole film working up to it.  Anyway, there it worked and here, not so much.  Considering that "Psycho" didn't really explain WHY Marion Crane took the money, I think perhaps this was a chance to delve a little deeper into the motivations of a female criminal.)

It's very easy to think, "Oh, Hitchcock didn't understand women, so he made this one unfathomable."  I think perhaps that's an oversimplification, even if it feels true.  There's something here about the complex nature of attraction and love, or whatever twisted simulation of love this relationship seems to portray.  Looking at the male side of the equation for a minute, Mark Rutland first pretends to love Marnie in order to gain her confidence and stop a robbery, but then he seems to have fallen in love with her for real in the process.  Even when her hangups might mean that he'd have to endure a sexless marriage, he still hangs tough and tries to get to the cause of her anxieties, and I think that's going above and beyond.  A lot of men would have cut their losses at this point, I'd wager.

Also starring Sean Connery (last seen in "Diamonds Are Forever"), Diane Baker (last seen in "Courage Under Fire"), Alan Napier, Martin Gabel, Louise Latham, Mariette Hartley (last seen in "The Magnificent Seven Ride!"), with a cameo from Bruce Dern (last seen in "Mulholland Falls").

RATING: 5 out of 10 social security numbers

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Birds II: Land's End

Year 6, Day 163 - 6/12/14 - Movie #1,762

BEFORE:  Well, I'm fighting with my drug dealer again - and by "drug" I mean cable television, and by "dealer" I mean a large cable provider with the initials TW.  The time on my DVR was off by a few minutes, first 3 and then 5, which meant I was starting to miss the beginnings of shows.  I swear, don't pay for cable TV until they get all the bugs worked out. I tried to reboot the box to reset the time, and the thing wouldn't reboot.  I got a countdown from "10" that can't seem to get past "1", so the box may be a dud.  But it is/was 40% full of shows, what happens to them?  I paid for all that programming, and now I can't watch it?  How come their first fix is to swap out the cable box, so I lose my shows, and all of the favorited programs I tell it to record?  Aren't these shows just like files on a drive, and if so, why can't they download the files to a new drive for me before swapping the box?  Jeez, when your computer crashes, you can take it somewhere and they'll recover the data, but with the cable company, they don't even try.  It's like they're some giant faceless corporation that doesn't care about the individual, because they know I'm going to keep paying $200 a month to get my fix.  Already I've got the shakes, trying to figure out how to maintain my habit with only 1 other DVR at home, a cable box at work and a small army of VCRs.  

Tonight's film was NOT directed by Alfred Hitchcock.  Which is going to feel a little weird, after watching so many films directed by Alfred Hitchcock.  It's an unauthorized (I'm assuming) sequel.  Which is good to know - you can just go out and film a sequel to any film you want.  Didn't someone write an unauthorized sequel to "Gone With the Wind" a few years ago?  Just pick your favorite film, slap a roman numeral "II" on it, and get to work.  Worry about the legal ramifications later.  Ain't America great?

Tippi Hedren carries over from "The Birds" - but she plays a different character here.  Huh??

THE PLOT: Birds go berserk and turn against mankind.

AFTER:  Some cable channel happened to run this when I was assembling all of the Hitchcock films, so I figured it was a good way to round out the DVD.  Finally, a film that answers the lingering questions left over from "The Birds".  Such as, "What the hell, birds?" and "Why are you acting like such dicks, birds?"

But this is where things get a little confusing, with an "indirect" TV movie sequel to "The Birds".  Tippi Hedren lends the thing some credence, but not only does she NOT play Melanie Daniels, this is set in a different town from the first film.  But at one point the characters talk about what happened in Bodega Bay, as if it's very far away.  To further muddle things up, they filmed in the SAME house seen in the first film - only now it's in a different city ??  And in this city there is also a Tides Restaurant, just like in Bodega Bay.  Now my head hurts, are we in the same city or not?

Tonight's film was directed by Alan Smithee, which you may recognize as the acknowledged pseudonym used whenever a director wants to take his name off of a project.  Usually this means the film is very bad, and it won't be appearing on anyone's resumé. 

Our central family is already assembled in this one, which saves a fair amount of time, and they come to an island summer house so that the father can get some writing done, and the mother can teach a famous photographer how to use a computer - but Mom's got a wandering eye and starts spending a lot of time with her new boss, and Dad's still mourning the loss of their young son from 5 years ago.  It's not a large leap in logic to suppose that the birds attacks are a symbolic manifestation of their collective guilt.  So this movie is perfect for anyone who might find Hitchcock films "too subtle". 

Actually, that's not a bad read.  There's some cockamamie explanation about "high tides" - but doesn't high tide happen twice a day?  Why haven't the birds attacked during high tide in the last 30 years?  Maybe they're attracted to human guilt, the way that dogs can smell fear.  The most guilt-laden couple in history moves to town, and days later birds are swarming all over the place.  Even back in Bodega Bay, maybe when Melanie was telling all those lies to Mitch, that's what made the birds attack in the first place - because she felt so guilty.  And Annie waited to tell Melanie she was Mitch's ex-girlfriend, I bet she felt very guilty about that.

I'm 99% sure I'm overthinking this.  I bet no screenwriter on "The Birds II" put this much thought into what the birds' motivations were.   This is more for people who might have enjoyed "Sharknado" or "DinoCroc" on the Syfy channel.  And true to form, just like the original "Birds" film, it doesn't really resolve anything at the end, it just kind of runs out of gas.  It doesn't come close to making any sort of point at all.

Also starring Brad Johnson (last seen in "Always"), Chelsea Field (last seen in "The Dark Half"), James Naughton (last seen in "The First Wives Club"), Jan Rubes, Richard K. Olsen.

RATING: 2 out of 10 seagulls

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Birds

Year 6, Day 162 - 6/11/14 - Movie #1,761

BEFORE: Hitchcock makes his cameo very early in this one - he plays a man walking out of a pet store with several dogs.  And I therefore get my linking out of the way early, which is good because I've got a lot to talk about today...

THE PLOT: A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack.

AFTER: Everything is relative, let me start there.  Some people feed birds, some don't.  Some people go to the beach and enjoy a nice lunch and toss a few french fries at the seagulls, and others think, "How long before the gulls figure out that we humans are FULL of French fries, and then realize that they have these sharp pecking things at the end of their faces, and decide to just go for the jackpot?"  I have a bird feeder in the backyard that I fill on a (mostly) weekly basis, and when the birds gain higher intelligence, you'll wish you had done the same, because a couple of cardinals and some pigeons are going to put in a good chirp for me.

As for humans getting along with each other, that's all relative, too.  As a person who's forced to share subway space (or bagel shop space) with the youth of America and listen to them natter on about nothing in particular, hearing "like" or "actually" spoken every other word, it's my right as a person to hate someone in my mind just because they're yuppie scum, or a hipster douchebag, or vegetarian or an insurance salesman or Belgian, or whatever, as long as I keep my thoughts to myself.  (Racism or sexism or homophobia = not cool, but beyond that, I consider it a free-for-all)

George Carlin had it exactly right - anyone faster than you on the highway is a "maniac", and anyone going slower is an "asshole".  Your shit is "stuff", and other people's stuff is "shit".  My anecdotes are hilarious gems of wisdom, and anyone who's not a friend or family members tells stories like "Oh ma God, this one time, we went to get bagels, and like, they were SO good, and I saw Jackie standing there, and I was like, are you getting bagels, too?  And she was like, Yah, they are SO good, and I'm like, I KNOW, and it was like, so funny, because I hadn't seen Jackie in so long, and like there she was getting a bagel..."   Meanwhile, I'm all like, "WILL A SWARM OF BIRDS PLEASE FLY DOWN AND PECK THIS GIRL'S EYES OUT SO I DON'T HAVE TO LISTEN TO THIS NONSENSE?"

And here's where I'm finally (FINALLY!) glad that I watched all of Hitchcock's earlier films as a prelude to, well, now.  Because I've done this to be able to spot and isolate the pattern - and the pattern is this:  for years, Hitch made films where bad things happen to good people.  Makes sense, take an average (good) person, someone the audience can identify with, and put him in a terrible spot.  He's accused of murder, or sabotage, or some robbery he didn't commit.  It's all a terrible mix-up, and we feel for him, we really do, because clearly that could happen to us someday.  And with a little effort, some dumb luck or the power of prayer (really?), the proper criminal would get arrested, or the Nazi would fall off the Statue of Liberty, and the proper balance would be restored.

But at some point, Hitchcock clearly had some kind of epiphany - what if bad things happened to BAD people?  This would maintain the karmic balance, and the audience could enjoy a new feeling, let's call it "schadenfreude", taking delight in the suffering of others.  Why else would he punch up Marion Crane's embezzlement scheme in "Psycho"?  She was, at least in one aspect, not a good person.  Did she deserve what she got?  That's debatable, perhaps, but we certainly feel different about it than if she was a young, innocent volunteer worker who happened to check in to the wrong hotel at the wrong time.

About 2/3 of the way through "The Birds", I had the revelation.  A group of townspeople are holed up in a diner, with a terrible bird attack going on outside, and some crazy townie looks at our heroine and says, "Why are they doing this? They said when you got here, the whole thing started. Who are you? What are you? Where did you come from? I think you're the cause of all this. I think you're evil! EVIL!"  Which is ridiculous - or is it?  Why did Hitchcock put this line here?  Melanie arrived in town shortly before the bird attacks started, but she didn't cause them, any more than she caused that thunderstorm, or Uncle Joe's heart attack, or the recession.

But this gives me the key to understanding the film - our heroine, Melanie Daniels, for all her beauty, is a horrible person.  She's a socialite (ugh), the daughter of a wealthy newspaper publisher (entitled), who's famous for being in the gossip columns (sound like anyone we know?) and recently caused a stir by jumping naked into a fountain in Rome.  Jeez, she might as well have been the 1960's equivalent of Lindsay Lohan or Miley Cyrus, or any number of Kardashians.  And she drives up the coast to chase a potential boyfriend, feeding him a series of lies.  "Why, no, I didn't drive up here just to see you! (LIE!)  I'm here to visit an old friend (LIE!) who I went to school with (LIE!) and I can't really stay, I've got to get back. (to do what? LIE!)" 

Honestly, the townspeople are quaint and all that, but they're not much better.  The woman that Melanie claims to be friends with rents her a room, and doesn't let on that Melanie's pursuing her ex-boyfriend Mitch, so that's a lie of omission.  And Mitch's mother is another overbearing sort who would give Norma Bates a run for her money.  I was all prepared to say Mitch was OK, but he is a lawyer, so that's that.  Peck away, birds, peck away.

I don't think I'm too far off the mark here, since the bird attacks are really the highlights of the film.  Whether Hitchcock chose to fill the rest of the film with banality so the attacks would stand out, or whether he was TRYING to portray a town full of horrible people who got what was coming to them, well, I guess that's all relative, isn't it?

NITPICK POINT: I realize the situation is stressful, and people do not always act logically in times of stress, but there are some real bonehead moves here.  When a schoolteacher sees a flock of crows out in the schoolyard, logic would dictate that perhaps remaining indoors would be the best course of action.  Nope, instead the teacher has her students put their coats on, because school's cancelled, and they're all going outside to walk home.  Huh?  Did they forget to hand out good sense in teacher school?   Kids, you don't always have to do what your teacher says, especially if she's a complete bonehead!  You might as well punch out the teacher at this point, because this way you'd give yourself detention and have to stay after school while your classmates get pecked to death.  At least volunteer to stay after and clean the erasers, then you can make a run for it after your classmates draw the birds' attention.

Horror films eventually picked up the formula, and filled their plots with people who exhibited bad judgment, like camping out in the isolated woods, or swimming in shark-infested waters, or summoning demons or whatever.  All of those "Friday the 13th" movies got it down - those teens on screen are having sex and (let's face it) you're not, so they deserve to die, right?  I can almost draw a direct line back to "The Birds" and "Psycho", so I'm just wondering if this is where it started, or if it goes back any further.

Also starring Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor (last seen in "Giant"), Suzanne Pleshette (last seen in "Oh, God! Book II"), Jessica Tandy (last seen in "The World According to Garp"), Veronica Cartwright, Doodles Weaver.

RATING: 6 out of 10 strawberry finches

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Year 6, Day 161 - 6/10/14 - Movie #1,760

BEFORE: I'm not done with Hitchcock just yet, but in a way, I've come full circle.  I started with the film "Hitchcock", which was all about the making of tonight's film.  And then I got really into Hitch's early films, which set the scene for what he was all about as a filmmaker, and conventional wisdom says that this film (along with "North by Northwest") represents the high point of his career.

Hitchcock puts in another cameo tonight, playing a man seen outside a real-estate office.

THE PLOT:  A Phoenix secretary steals $40,000 from her employer's client, goes on the run and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

AFTER: Everyone knows the famous shower scene, which means the majority of people who see this for the first time these days already know what's going to happen.  I know I saw this as a kid, but all I remember is the shower scene, and that's all that I remember, so I'm in the same boat.  I wish I could erase the memory of having seen most of this before, and watch it with fresh eyes.  But that's impossible, you just can't unring that bell.

The best I can do is watch this for real, for the first time as an adult (thanks for letting me watch this as a kid, Mom + Dad, and making me scared to take a shower...) and pay attention to the other parts.  Like the theft Marion Crane pulls early in the film, and then her efforts to escape the police, which bring her to the Bates Motel.

Also, this will be my first time watching the film AFTER knowing the ending, so that means I can pay attention to Norman Bates in the early scenes, and pick up on all the different aspects of his creepiness.  Like his taxidermy (ugh) and his general demeanor (which is very high on the creep-o-meter).  And, umm,  his affinity for bologna sandwiches!  Yeah, there's just something not right about that.

What else can I say about this film, without spoiling it for the maybe one or two people out there who have never seen it, or heard about it?  The build-up's pretty boring, as is the solving of the crime.  Damn, that just leaves us with the only exciting bit - the shower scene, and the big reveal.   I think this movie had its time and place in movie history, but because of the shocks in the plot, it doesn't necessarily age well.  But in that sense, the film is a victim of its own success, because you only have a short window of time in your life to see this film before you hear about it, and then once you do, it's kind of too late to appreciate it in the proper way.

 I think we need to find a way to "un-remember" things so that we can then experience them again for the first time.  This would also help if you accidentally read a spoiler alert and then immediately regret it...

Also starring Janet Leigh (last seen in "Touch of Evil"), Anthony Perkins (last seen in "Murder on the Orient Express"), Martin Balsam (last seen in "Breakfast at Tiffany's"), Vera Miles (last seen in "The Wrong Man"), John Gavin (last seen in "Spartacus"), John Anderson.

RATING: 6 out of 10 stuffed birds

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

North by Northwest

Year 6, Day 160 - 6/9/14 - Movie #1,759

BEFORE: Just about a week left to go in the Hitchcock chain, and I'm sure ready for a change of scenery.  And it's just about 40 days until Comic-Con, but I've got a weekend trip to Portland, OR coming up before that. I was able to continue watching films while in Massachusetts but I'll have to suspend operations while I'm on the West Coast.  Hitchcock carries over for another cameo - tonight he misses a bus.

THE PLOT:  A New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.

AFTER: Well, Hitchcock had to change with the times, and at some point Nazis got replaced by Soviets, and probably nobody was happier than him when the Cold War heated up - he got to tell all those spy stories again, just changing the villain.  The Russkies were always sneaking around stealing our secrets, or so he would have us believe.  And any American could have easily been mistaken for an agent, captured by the Commies and tortured to reveal state secrets.

Roger Thornhill gets mistaken for the mysterious "George Kaplan", though we never really learn what it is about him that makes him fit Kaplan's profile, especially since no one's ever seen Kaplan (Umm, so how can he look like him?).  Old Hitch loved his mistaken identities - sometimes you get mistaken for a store robber, and sometimes a secret agent - it cuts both ways, apparently.

And once you get marked as an agent, how hard is it to prove that you're NOT that guy?  Go ahead, try and prove a negative.  Trust me, you're better off going on the run to find Kaplan, especially if you've been framed for murder.  Because even though the police are mostly incompetent, how do you prove that you DIDN'T kill that guy?

He meets a lovely woman after jumping on the train to Chicago, and before he can realize that she's in this thing up to her eyeballs, they've already shared a meal on the dining car, a berth on the sleeping car, and who knows what else.  Because we all know by now that sharing time together on the run is the fastest way to a lasting relationship, at least in a Hitchcock film. 

But Eve Kendall is sort of cut from the same cloth as the lead from "Vertigo", namely our hero learns about halfway through the film that everything he knows about her could be wrong, and that she has her secrets.  Still, I think this shows a lot of growth over the course of Hitchcock's career - his first few leading ladies were either innocent and helpless or conniving and slutty.  There was a turnaround at some point, perhaps it was Ingrid Bergman in "Notorious", where it became OK for his women to be smart and to take a larger role in the proceedings, and not just be wives or girlfriends.

Like "Vertigo", this film was just a bit too long.  Both stories could have easily been cut down to under two hours just by losing some of the middle bits, which is where they dragged.

Also starring Cary Grant (last seen in "To Catch a Thief"), Eva Marie Saint (last seen in "On the Waterfront"), James Mason (last seen in "A Star is Born"), Martin Landau (last heard in "Frankenweenie"), Leo G. Carroll (last seen in "Strangers on a Train"), Jessie Royce Landis (also last seen in "To Catch a Thief"), with a cameo from Edward Platt (the chief from "Get Smart").

RATING: 7 out of 10 Redcaps

Monday, June 9, 2014


Year 6, Day 159 - 6/8/14 - Movie #1,758

BEFORE: I can squeeze another film in before I have to catch the train back to NY.  Really, it's better if I take a morning train and go straight to my office than if I take a late Sunday night train, then catch the subway home at a late hour, then have to take the subway AGAIN in the morning.  My office is so close to Penn Station, staying over another night just makes a little more sense.  Linking from "The Wrong Man", Vera Miles links back to James Stewart (last seen in "The Man Who Knew Too Much") via the same path I mentioned last time.

THE PLOT:  A retired San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her.

AFTER: Jeez, it's bad enough that Hitchcock pre-emptively ripped off "Throw Momma From the Train", did he have to do the same thing with "Body Double"?  

I didn't really mention the camera tricks that Hitchcock was experimenting with back in his early films - and I don't mean tricks like that cheezy rear-projection to make it look like people were in a moving car or skiing down a mountain when they weren't.  I mean the superimposing of images, the odd angles and super deep-focus lenses that were used to convey particular emotions, usually when some character was going mad or tormented in some way.  That trend of his hit its peak with "Vertigo", I think.

Odd colors, and in one case actual animation, are used here for dramatic effect to convey the inner torment of our lead character - and then to convey his fear of heights, there's that camera trick where the cameras pans back while it zooms in (or is it the other way around?) to make that sort of unnerving, space-is-getting-elongated sort of feeling.   Most commonly, it's now called the "Jaws" effect, after being used to convey that sinking feeling Brody had while standing on the beach, and you see it in a TON of horror movies, but it's possible that its best use was in this film, so really. it should be called the "Vertigo" effect. 

Hitchcock was still obsessed with finding the perfect murder.  Wasn't he EVER satisfied?  Again, though, we see plot points that are SO outlandish, SO convoluted, SO hard to believe, it really makes one wonder why someone would go to SO much trouble, when divorce is much easier, albeit costlier, in the long run.  No right-thinking human in the real world would arrange a scheme that's so problematic. 

Instead we (and our hero) are told that a man's wife is going insane, perhaps even being taken over by the spirit of a long-dead woman whom she happens to resemble.  She'll disappear for long periods of time, either gazing at the dead woman's portrait in an art museum, or tooling around in her old, rundown house.  And then afterwards she'll claim to have no memory of doing these things, or trying to take her own life, so the only possible conclusion is that she's being controlled by forces beyond the grave.  (or is she?) 

It's also worth drawing a distinction between acrophobia and vertigo, even though the main character here suffers from both.  Vertigo, with its dizziness and such, seems to be more of a physical condition, and acrophobia more of a mental one.  I don't consider acrophobia to be an irrational fear, however, I think it's a very valid fear.  I have a fear of heights myself, but it prompts me to not do silly things like rock-climbing or bungee-jumping, so I think any fear is a positive one if it helps keep you alive.

Also starring Kim Novak (last seen in "The Man With the Golden Arm"), Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore, Ellen Corby (last seen in "Shane").

RATING:  6 out of 10 gray suits

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Wrong Man

Year 6, Day 158 - 6/7/14 - Movie #1,757

BEFORE: Took the Amtrak up to Massachusetts to see my parents, and not so coincidentally it's the weekend of the Newport Chowderfest, an annual event I try not to miss.  But the number of entrants this year was a little disappointing, definitely down from years before, which is the main reason my friends and I stopped going to the Boston Chowderfest (usually on July 4 weekend) over a decade ago.  The Boston event used to feature about a dozen local chowders from various restaurants, and when the number of entries slipped down to 5, it seemed time to move on.  The Newport event today featured 13 chowders, but in past years has showcased over 20, so it may be on a similar slide. 

Linking from "The Man Who Knew Too Much", Hitchcock carries over, he appeared in person last night and does a voiceover tonight.  But also, James Stewart was in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" with Vera Miles.

THE PLOT: True story of an innocent man mistaken for a criminal.

AFTER: Hitchcock did the "falsely accused" storyline many times, as I've stated - it seemed to be his bread and butter during the 1930's and 1940's.  But there's a big difference tonight, in those older films the accused man would usually bolt (making him look very guilty) and go on a quest to find the real murderer (or saboteur, or thief).  This would also allow him to fall in love with (insert name of young blond actress here).  But in this film, the accused finally does NOT run from the police, but instead cooperates and puts his faith in the system, hoping he'll eventually be cleared.  Good luck with that.

Also in play (still?) is Hitchcock's grudge against the police.  It's clear now that he had zero faith in cops, who have more interest in closing cases than solving crimes.  I'd love to know what happened to Hitch in his personal life that made him so distrustful of the law, and so eager to point out again and again that policemen frequently make mistakes, and that cooperating with an investigation is not a good idea. Because our hero tonight gets rewarded for his cooperation with a positive I.D. in a line-up, a high bail, and (eventually) enough stress to put his wife in the nuthouse. 

OK, so the wheels of justice turn very slowly, but they do turn.  Thank God for due process, the right to a jury of one's peers, and all that.  But noticeably absent was any reading of the man's rights, which would have advised him of his right to an attorney, so as a result he doesn't get one until it's nearly too late.  (Ah, a little research tells me that Miranda rights have only been around since 1966, but that's in specific name - didn't they exist in principle before that?) 

It's almost as if Hitchcock made this film as a warning, about how an average guy with average build and a brown overcoat could be railroaded into serving time for another man's crimes.  I'm sure it's happened, not just in this case, but in hundreds of others that were prosecuted before we had DNA testing and cameras on every street corner.  So I'm not sure if the message "don't cooperate with the police" seen here did more harm than good.  Perhaps "speak up for yourself and proclaim your innocence, repeatedly" would have been more positive.

Also starring Henry Fonda (last seen in "Sex and the Single Girl"), Anthony Quayle (last seen in "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask"), Harold J. Stone, with cameos from Werner Klemperer, Barney Martin, Harry Dean Stanton (last seen in "Private Benjamin"), Tuesday Weld and Bonnie Franklin.  That's an odd set of uncredited cameos right there.

RATING: 5 out of 10 rosary beads