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My Year with Hitch
Haven't read your review yet, Scribbling man, as I haven't seen the film yet myself. Was planning on watching it last night, but my wife hogged the TV to see '47 meters down'. (Not the watery flick I intended, but entertaining none-the-less.) With luck, I can grab the TV tonight and finally get to see 'Lifeboat'. I have the Kino Lorber version.
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^^^Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

The bonus's you've listed for this week are included as extras on my copy of the film, so I may try and watch one or both fairly soon.
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Coincidentally I just watched 'Shadow of a Doubt' too, as part of my 1001 run (unfortunately I ramble on a bit):

https://forums.fanedit.org/showthread.php?tid=12356&pid=313264#pid313264

If you want more versions of SOAD to watch then I can highly recommend Park Chan-Wook's 2013 film 'Stoker'. It's not a direct adaptation, it's a homage to the Hitchcock style and SOAD specifically. The dubious Uncle in his film is even called Charlie.

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(07-20-2018, 01:26 PM)TM2YC Wrote: Coincidentally I just watched 'Shadow of a Doubt' too, as part of my 1001 run (unfortunately I ramble on a bit):

https://forums.fanedit.org/showthread.ph...#pid313264

I purposely avoided reading that before now, as I hadn't yet seen the film. I'm definitely going to have to revisit this one later, as both you & SM seem to have got more out of it than I did on first viewing.

(07-20-2018, 01:26 PM)TM2YC Wrote: If you want more versions of SOAD to watch then I can highly recommend Park Chan-Wook's 2013 film 'Stoker'. It's not a direct adaptation, it's a homage to the Hitchcock style and SOAD specifically. The dubious Uncle in his film is even called Charlie.

My library has it, so I've requested it. Thanks for the heads-up.
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Catching up on some reviews:

Week 29: 'Lifeboat' [1944]
Source: Blu-ray

Hitchcock no doubt enjoyed the challenge on setting an entire film within the confines of a small boat. After their ship is sunk by the Germans, several of the crew and passengers scramble aboard the eponymous lifeboat, including one Nazi, setting up a battle of survival and morality at sea.

This is a film that could quite easily have fallen flat. With little in the way of a change of scenery or setting, and some stereotypical characters, this shouldn't work. But it does. The characters evolve over the course of the film - the man preaching sympathy for their German shipmate becomes one of the most vicious towards the end, and indeed the audience is manipulated throughout the film regarding our feelings towards the Nazi. Secretive yet most capable during a crisis - is he saving the survivors or setting them up? Tallulah Bankhead as the cold, cynical journalist is the star, but I found her co-stars more interesting.

Some of it doesn't work so well - there's an unnecessary romance, for example, that feels out of place - but overall I enjoyed it. I saw the Kino Lorber blu-ray, and it was a mixed bag - some scenes definitely showed their age whilst the majority, especially the latter half, were pristine.
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BONUS: 'Lifepod' [1993]
Source: DVD

Now here's an oddity - Hitchcock's 'Lifeboat' set in space! The premise is slightly different, as it is a whodunnit as well as a survival movie. Set sometime in the future, a spaceship is destroyed by carefully planted bombs on New Year's Eve. Passengers and crew board a lifepod, and it slowly dawns on them that the saboteur is probably among them. Thus the dual plots of trying to survive in the airless cold of space and discover the perpetrator before s/he kills again. Throw in a midget with a cybernetic arm, and you have your film.

Perhaps I've made it sound more interesting than it is. A lot of the original's storyline is covered here - the woman with the dead baby, the gangrenous leg that must be amputated, the stoic journalist, the businessman who takes control... Even with some well-known faces (if not names - Ron Silver, CCH Pounder, Robert Loggia, Stan Shaw) this fails to impress. In part, the budget is lacking to make this believable. Space shots of the pod itself look cheap - think 'Red Dwarf' rather than 'Alien' - though the interior set is sufficient. Also, the villain isn't hard to figure out, especially as there are little to no red herrings to throw you off. Still, the part-cyborg midget is cool.

If you really like 'Lifeboat' and can find this for free, it's a curious companion piece that may mildly entertain. Otherwise, skip it.
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BONUS: 'Bon Voyage' [1944]
Source: DVD

This French short film, subtitled in English, is told mostly in flashback. A Scottish RAF spy (who speaks fluent French, but apparently with a poor accent, according to his peers) is relating his tale of escaping occupied France with a fellow spy through the efforts of the French resistance. The twist, told concisely in 30 minutes, is that not all is as it appears to him. The truth is revealed slowly to us, serving as a precautionary piece of war propaganda. The direction is simple, as you would expect in such a short film, with no flourishes to distinguish it. Yet, it's engrossing and an interesting period piece.

I watched the DVD produced by Image Entertainment. It was watchable but that's all, with clearly little in the way of restoration.
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BONUS: 'Aventure Malgache' [1944]
Source: DVD

The second of Hitchcock's French shorts is another tale told largely in flashback, concerning a lawyer (now actor) and his run-ins with a local Chief of Police in Madagascar. Unfortunately, it doesn't work quite as well as the previous film for a number of reasons. The story is less interesting and more confusing, without (I thought) any obvious point to it. The Police Chief was corrupt and a collaborator with the Nazis, which is... bad. He got his comeuppance off-screen, so as propaganda goes, it felt ineffectual. The frequent jumps back to the framing device (actors preparing for a play) felt off too, killing the flow as opposed to 'Bon Voyage' in which the two stories complemented one another. There was an interesting scene that reminded me of Hitchcock's early years in silent film, as a local woman is shown contemplating then deciding to phone the authorities about the French Resistance plans. It is silent for some time and the acting is overly dramatic. Beyond that, there isn't much to recommend it other than it is short and pairs with 'Bon Voyage'.
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The 'Masters of Cinema' blu-ray of 'Lifeboat' has been sitting on my shelf for a while, so I thought I might as well watch it now. The transfer looks very nice.

Lifeboat (1944)
An earlier entry in Hitchcock's series of films where he flaunts the ease of his film-making genius, by allowing himself a very narrow field to work in. The entire film, from the first, to the last, is set within a WW2 lifeboat but Hitch still manages to squeeze in his usual self-deprecating cameo. He positions the camera and frames the shots in such a variety of ways that the boat never gets boring to look at.

[Image: hitch.jpg]

A mixture of American and British people (and one German) from all levels of society must work together (or not) to survive. Some wonderful dark humour is sprinkled about, with a character remarking that they are "all in the same boat" without realising the irony. One character has a great running gag that goes "Some of my best friends..." culminating in a defiant "...are in concentration camps". For 1944, it is perhaps unique that the black steward character is treated as an equal cast member. Hitchcock only draws attention to him once so he can enjoy a little jab at US civil-rights, the other white lifeboat inhabitants call a vote and when Lee is asked to cast his, he gives a wry smile and asks "Do I get to vote too?". The whole situation is a metaphor for WW2 itself and an examination of Democracy versus Totalitarianism.

I think 'Lifeboat' is going near the top of my list from his B&W period.
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BONUS: 'The Fighting Generation' [1944]
Source: You-Tube [streaming]

For completism sake, I watched this 2 minute war bond advert, as directed by Hitchcock. No spies, chases, murders or the like, alas, just a pretty nurse looking wistfully off-camera as she recalls happier times with Johnny, the injured soldier in her care. Probably good enough to sell war bonds, and Jennifer Jones is nice to look at, so all-in-all it no doubt did the job.
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