The 39 Steps - and more.
September 4, 2015 9:06 PM   Subscribe

23 Free Hitchcock Movies Online - Open Culture [Previously]

"Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense, directed more than 50 feature films during his long career. Today, his work is admired worldwide, and he’s considered one of our finest directors. Although many of his landmark films remain copyrighted, some of his important works, particularly his early ones, have slipped into the public domain. And so we have catalogued 21 Alfred Hitchcock films that you can watch online – completely for free."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (19 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
Jumping for joy! Many thanks for posting this.

Yikes, the "Older" link beneath says "I'm Still Going to Murder You". It says it quietly, in black-and-white, into a phone.

posted by valetta at 9:34 PM on September 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by HuronBob at 10:28 PM on September 4, 2015

I'm going to put in a plug for two of my favorites, "The 39 Steps" and "The Lady Vanishes" -- they're classic pre-Hollywood Hitchcock and the kind of perfectly delightful blend of mystery, suspense, comedy, and romance that it seems we rarely ever get anymore.
posted by Nerd of the North at 10:44 PM on September 4, 2015 [5 favorites]

The Lady Vanishes has such weird, SUPER British moments that it's like a perfect time capsule while still being an exciting adventure mystery.
posted by The Whelk at 11:02 PM on September 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Also The Lodger is both of the first Serial Killer Genre movies, people claim it's one of the first Thrillers with the use of an urban environment and touches of silent film avant garde, like it's pretty easy to make a clear line connecting The Lodger to a LOT of crime/suspense movies later on and watching it is a lot of OH THAT'S WHERE THAT COMES FROM
posted by The Whelk at 11:05 PM on September 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also the most recent Mission Impossible movie has an extended homage to The Man Who Knew Too Much
posted by The Whelk at 11:06 PM on September 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

A couple of nights ago channel surfing I came upon the movie Hitchcock, all about the making of "Psycho". I said to myself I must revisit some of his films and now, abracadabra, this thread is pointing the way.
posted by valetta at 11:38 PM on September 4, 2015

weird, SUPER British moments

I think you mean, perfectly normal British moments.

Weirdly the BBC did a spin-off series Charters and Caldicott in the 80s with the eponymous pair, now retired, solving a murder. Sadly I didn't appear to be available anywhere. I do remember a lot of cricket references and the finale being at Lords (or the Oval)

A couple of nights ago channel surfing I came upon the movie Hitchcock, all about the making of "Psycho".

I'd recommend the interesting, if controversial, tv film The Girl about the making of The Birds and Hitchcock's relationship with Tippi Hedren.

Got stuff to do... so try and resist firing up 39 Steps and Stranger later, but they are perfect Saturday matinee material (probably as first saw them when BBC 2 used to run black and white classics all the time)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:58 AM on September 5, 2015

There is actually a lot more of the characters of Charters and Caldicott, they proved so popular in the 1938 film that they appeared in another three films, played by the same actors. The same actors also played very similar characters though without the C&C identities in another eight films of the period. Similar pairings, though with different names, were also used in a number of radio shows of the period, see the wiki page for more details.

The Lady Vanishes was remade in 1979, starring Elliott Gould and Cybill Shepherd, and though much inferior, did provide employment to Arthur Lowe (familiar to Brits as Captain Mainwaring) and Ian Carmichael (whose face will be known to anyone who has watched more than three British films made between 1940 and 1970) as Charters and Caldicott.

Then as fearfulsymmetry points out there was a 6 part series based on an adventure of the pair, shown on the BBC in 1985. I remember it quite fondly. A search suggests the DVD of the series is out there somewhere, though not sure how legit it is.
posted by biffa at 3:08 AM on September 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

It should be noted that these Public Domain movies are all his early films he did in the UK before coming over to Hollywood (though he did go on to remake some of them once he got here such as "Man Who Knew Too Much"), This is not to say they aren't wonderful, just be aware that you won't be finding Jimmy Stewart or Cary Grant in any of these.

It is a statistical certainty that if you browse any discount DVD bin, you will eventually come across at least one Hitchcock collection with these films and one John Wayne collection filled with his Pre-"Stagecoach" PD films and, invariably, "McClintock".
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 4:19 AM on September 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is not to say they aren't wonderful, just be aware that you won't be finding Jimmy Stewart or Cary Grant in any of these.

Maybe not quite the household names of those guys but three years after The 39 Steps Robert Donat was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar and a year later was again nominated and this time won the Best Actor Oscar. He was later nominated for a BAFTA and a Golden Globe. While he's not quite as suave as Grant in N by NW, he comes as close in 39 Steps as any mortal could hope to.

The Lady Vanishes was a first film role for Redgrave but he went on to work in films for 37 years, alongside buckets of acclaimed theatre. He was nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA and was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame. Redgrave is also pretty well known for his acting family, he fathered Vanessa, Corin and Lynn Redgrave, all of whom became very well known and successful actors, and he was grandfather to Natasha and Joely Richardson and to Gemma Redgrave.

Madeleine Carroll was the highest paid actress in the world at one point, she also has quite an interesting story, she chucked in acting for five years from 1942 to become a nurse in a military hospital in Italy, winning the Medal of Freedom. She also turned her French chateau over to become an orphanage. She later won the Legion d'honneur for her efforts in international relations between France and the US.
posted by biffa at 5:40 AM on September 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

Just the other day they had a notice about 48 hours of Joseph Campbell lectures now free online from spotify.
posted by bukvich at 7:30 AM on September 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

The 39 Steps is now on FanFare! (I posted a bit early to capitalize on this fpp.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:53 AM on September 5, 2015

Great post! Found tons of stuff I love.
posted by bjgeiger at 8:56 AM on September 5, 2015

Echoing the recommendations of The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes as being the "must see" entries here.

This first version of The Man Who Knew Too Much is good, too; Hitchcock's own 1956 remake with Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day is arguably a bit bloated compared to the first version. (It's 45 minutes longer; some of that time is spent listening to her sing Que Sera Sera, which the movie introduced.)

Sabotage is also good. (I'm not suggesting that others aren't, but I haven't seen most of them.) I'm looking forward to finally seeing The Lodger.
posted by pmurray63 at 9:33 AM on September 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Not Hitchcock, but they have A Matter of Life and Death available for free. This is one of those UK films that never seems to have made it into the American cultural consciousness but for me it is one of the finest films ever made. Directed and written by Powell and Pressburger and championed for years by Martin Scorsese (along with their other output) this is a wartime romance without much war, blending the fantastical and the earthly and doing hugely innovative things with Technicolor and their imagination. It started life as a propaganda film to enhance UK-US relations but ends up being so much more. David Niven's best film, romancing Kim Hunter, who would go on to make a monkey out of Charlton Heston. Really not like anything you have seen before.

Trivia: The first Royal Film Performance!
posted by biffa at 10:03 AM on September 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

Just watched The Lady vanishes, which I last saw so long ago I'd practically forgotten. Splendid stuff - and so many good Hitchcock moments.

"Why did you do that?" "I went to Cambridge."

+1 on A Matter Of Life And Death, which is one of my favourite movies. I've seen it countless times, and it never dulls - an absolute gem of inventive craftsmanship, and despite being a very different movie it has an interesting thematic parallel with The Lady vanishes. (If - no, when - you watch it, see if you can spot the prophet Mohammed's cameo...)

I think that, had I been alive and at the right age when it came out first, it would have made me want to work in film.

(Word of warning: I've just checked the streaming version linked above, and it's very heavily compressed. Find a better version, if you can - and I imagine you can.)
posted by Devonian at 10:54 AM on September 5, 2015

Yeah, don't think you need Cary Grant to have Hitchcockian flavor. He's arguably just as good early in his career, but working with b&w and lower budgets cramped his style. (The 39 Steps is a fine example of how to get by with virtually no money and still be terrific, though!) For C&C fans, do check out Night Train to Munich -- it's an excellent pre-noir thriller.

I do believe the original TMWKTM is better overall, though obviously with lesser production values. The remake is enough of its own film that it stands on its own, though.

The essential list, if you need one, should probably be:
* Jamaica Inn
* Sabotage -- one of the most gripping sequences in his entire body of work (also note there is a newer adaption starring David Suchet -- hard to find -- and one with Bob Hoskins)
* Secret Agent (not to be confused with the above, which is based on the Conrad story of that name)
* The Lady Vanishes (may still be on Netflix streaming, too)
* The Lodger
* The Man Who Knew Too Much (especially if you only know the 1956 version)

I haven't watched all of these but some of the others are fairly forgettable. Adjust your expectations accordingly -- flashes of brilliance but fairly pedestrian features, especially the silents.
posted by dhartung at 1:15 AM on September 8, 2015

Not so much of a fan of Jamaica Inn, Laughton over-laughtons a bit to much for me (and I am generally a fan). It does end about half a mile from where I am sitting though, so there's that.
posted by biffa at 4:25 AM on September 8, 2015

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