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View Full Version : Which is Hitchcock's worst film?


NoirFan
01-06-09, 08:21 PM
I've been on a bit of a Hitchcock bender recently, and I've been trying to watch all of his films, or at least the ones available on DVD. I just had the distinct displeasure of sitting through ninety-five excruciating minutes of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and about halfway through I started to wonder if this was the worst Hitchcock film I had ever seen. By the end of the film, I was sure of it. A paper-thin story, unlikable characters, numbingly unfunny sequences, and a somewhat disturbingly comedic approach to domestic violence all contributed to my extreme discomfort in viewing Mr. and Mrs. Smith. it was just awful, and I'm usually a big fan of screwball comedies. So, which of Hitchcock's films do you think is his worst? I've provided nine suggestions, but as always, feel free to nominate your own.

Family Plot
Topaz
Marnie
The Trouble with Harry
Spellbound
Jamaica Inn
Number 17
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
To Catch a Thief
Other - please specify

Rockmjd23
01-06-09, 08:29 PM
Juno and the Paycock.

chris_sc77
01-06-09, 08:34 PM
Of those on the list I have to say Spellbound. Just cant get into that one or something.
I think to Catch A Thief and the Trouble with Harry are both great and Family Plot is enjoyable. The others I havn't seen.

Cosmic Bus
01-06-09, 08:35 PM
I've seen everything after but nothing prior to the original Man Who Knew Too Much, so I can't comment on those, but Mr. and Mrs. Smith would probably get my vote, too. Second pick? Honestly, it'd be the Lady Vanishes. I really can't stand it.

Finisher
01-06-09, 08:50 PM
I've seen all his sound films and my bottom three is:

Topaz
Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Aventure Malgache

All three are godawful and practically unwatchable.

Hokeyboy
01-06-09, 08:56 PM
I'm gonna catch hell for this but... Shadow of a Doubt. That film bores me to tears, neither suspenful nor insightful. Dramatically inert. Overwrought. Boring.

I'd rather watch Mr. & Mrs. Smith for 24 hours straight.


And whomever suggested The Lady Vanishes can go shoo in the melon!! :mad:

tommyp007
01-06-09, 09:10 PM
Having not seen some of the earliest works, I gotta go with Topaz.

Adam Tyner
01-06-09, 09:13 PM
Having not seen some of the earliest works, I gotta go with Topaz.I've watched the majority of his American movies -- most repeatedly -- but Topaz practically puts me to sleep.

MBoyd
01-06-09, 10:43 PM
Couldn't stand Mr & Mrs Smith.

Boba Fett
01-06-09, 10:47 PM
Topaz.

To Catch a Thief shouldn't even be on the list.

utopianz14
01-07-09, 12:05 AM
Number 17 is by far the worst Hitchcock film I've ever seen. I would rather watch all the other films on the list in one sitting than have to sit through the mess of a movie that is Number 17 again.

pjflyer
01-07-09, 12:20 AM
Torn Curtain

Gunde
01-07-09, 01:20 AM
Under Capricorn.

I liked Mr. And Mrs. Smith

Cosmic Bus
01-07-09, 05:26 AM
I'm gonna catch hell for this but... Shadow of a Doubt.

And whomever suggested The Lady Vanishes can go shoo in the melon!! :mad:

Heh, as I consider Shadow of a Doubt to be his best, I guess you can go shoo, too. ;)

Chew
01-07-09, 06:52 AM
There's still several silents I haven't seen, but of all the ones I have: Topaz

Adboy151
01-07-09, 07:37 AM
Torn Curtain and Topaz

Doughboy
01-07-09, 07:41 AM
I've only seen a few of those, but The Trouble With Harry was by far the worst. Boring, not funny, and not suspenseful in the least. It's 2 hours of people burying and digging up a corpse. Maybe I would've enjoyed it more had it been Terry Kiser as the corpse and Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman digging him up.;)

Funny that someone mentioned Shadow of a Doubt. I wasn't a big fan, although I wouldn't consider it Hitchcock's worst. But I recall reading somewhere that it was his favorite out of all his films.

frenchy
01-07-09, 10:07 AM
I will agree with Torn Curtain and Topaz. I liked Mr. and Mrs. Smith as well.

Geofferson
01-07-09, 11:32 AM
I have not yet seen Topaz. That said, I voted Family Plot.

Jaymole
01-07-09, 12:36 PM
I would say Under Capricorn

marty888
01-07-09, 08:15 PM
Some of the very early titles have limited entertainment value, but still are interesting to see. I'll give Hitch the benefit of the doubt during his "learning" years.

Once he's made some terrific films (<i>39 Steps, Lady Vanishes</i>) I tend to be less forgiving.

<i>JAMAICA INN</i> is pretty bad, but still better than <i>THE PARADINE CASE</i> or <i>TOPAZ</i> which are my least favorite of all.

For a long time, I wasn't a big fan of <i>TORN CURTAIN</i> but I've enjoyed it more the last few times I've watched it.

Of the movies that people dump on the most, the one that I <i>do</i> like a lot is <i>MARNIE</i>.

asianxcore
01-07-09, 08:37 PM
I'm gonna catch hell for this but... Shadow of a Doubt. That film bores me to tears, neither suspenseful nor insightful. Dramatically inert. Overwrought. Boring.


I have to agree with you there. It was one of the films I caught a Hitchcock class I took years ago. Was thoroughly bored as well.

Thought I might interest me a little more with the setting being a 30 minute drive from where I live :)

dick_grayson
01-07-09, 08:41 PM
I've watched the majority of his American movies -- most repeatedly -- but Topaz practically puts me to sleep.

that's funny you mention that. I, indeed, used to put that on when I couldn't sleep. :lol:

dick_grayson
01-07-09, 08:43 PM
I have not yet seen Topaz. That said, I voted Family Plot.

Bruce Dern's hair in that movie saves it from being a bad movie.....imo

albert_m
01-07-09, 09:26 PM
Topaz could have been better, but I really enjoy it - Torn Curtain is decent too.

MR Round
01-08-09, 07:42 PM
I know Many people will disagree me with but I absolutely hated PSYCHO

story
01-08-09, 09:22 PM
I don't doubt I'm in a small minority, but the last twenty minutes or so of Vertigo are pretty excruciating to me. It's so clear he knows what's up and it's time to JUST. END. THE. MOVIE.

Sondheim
01-08-09, 09:57 PM
With "Vertigo" being my favorite Hitchcock film, I'd probably have to say that "Secret Agent" is my least favorite. Of course there are a number of his earlier films that I haven't seen, but that one was just completely forgettable, in my opinion.

Damfino
01-09-09, 01:56 AM
Under Capricorn

Looks like Topaz is running away with the poll. I can't argue with it, but Under Capricorn was the first movie to come to mind when I clicked on the thread.

Adam Tyner
01-09-09, 08:15 AM
I can't argue with it, but Under Capricorn was the first movie to come to mind when I clicked on the thread.I think it's just because it's easier to avoid Under Capricorn :), but Topaz wound up in a lot of people's hands because of its inclusion in the Universal set. Hitchcock didn't seem to think all that much of either movie himself.

dick_grayson
01-09-09, 08:41 AM
fwiw, I also used to fall asleep every time I'd try to watch Torn Curtain.

The Lodger (while silent) is pretty good, for those interested.

Sean O'Hara
01-09-09, 10:56 AM
Family Plot is light and inoffensive -- not great, but certainly not bad.

Marnie and Spellbound suffer from screenwriters who were too much in love with psychoanalysis, but there are still interesting aspects to them.

To Catch a Thief and The Trouble with Harry are great films and shouldn't be included here.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a tepid screwball comedy -- Hitch should've been good at the genre, but he was too restrained here.

But Topaz is truly bad -- I know Hitch was reacting to James Bond by trying to make a realistic spy film, but he goes too far in the opposite direction. The Quiller Memorandum takes the same approach but still manages to be interesting.

I think Sabotage (or is it Saboteur? The American one) also deserves a mention -- sure, the Statue of Liberty sequence is iconic, but everything leading to that point is pretty awful, especially the way the Good People would instantly recognize that Our Hero could not be a spy because he's so Good and Noble. Plus, the romance subplot was much better in The 39 Steps.

Mabuse
01-09-09, 12:17 PM
I've seen nearly all of Hitchcocks films, including his silents. In fact the only films I haven't seen are The Secret Agent, The Ring, Juno and the Paycock, and his two propaganda shorts. There are some stinkers, however the choices on this list miss the mark.

Family Plot - being the master's last film it holds a certain fascination and it is a cunning and fun suspense story.
Topaz - not a good film, but better than Torn Curtain. Neither film should be considered among his worst.
Marnie - a brilliant film whose reputation is being salvaged a little bit more each year. Some critics consider it Hitch's finest film. It's certainly his most stylized and challenging.
The Trouble with Harry - does not belong on this list. Brilliant black comedy. Lots of fun.
Spellbound - not a great film, but highly experimental and worth viewing for its surreal imagry alone.
Jamaica Inn - being that it isn't a suspense film it is uncharacteristic of Hitch's work. I'll admit it's not a great film. If directed by someone else it would have been long forgotten.
Number 17 - not a great film but come on people! It's only 60 minutes long and the latter half has some great model work.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith - not a great screwball comedy, but I found the approach to sex and sexuality in this film quite challenging for its time
To Catch a Thief - pretty bannal, but beautiful looking. Holds a fascination because Hitch is pretty much making love to his leading lady with the camera.

Now, sure Number 17 is not that great, but Hitch made much worse. The Farmer's Wife and The Skin Game are absolutely awful. They go right to the top of the list.

Dial M For Murder, even in 3-D is completely DOA, nothing distinctive in it, recent attempts to revive its reputation are i'll founded. It stinks.

The Paradine Case lacks drama and is simply not fun.