Alfred Hitchcock has been a huge inspiration for me as a filmmaker. I love the way his films feel like his, with a sense of place, a menacing foreboding and a stylishness that isn’t overwhelming. And I love how he has a cameo in every film.
Hitchcock would have been 120 years old (!) on Aug. 13, and to celebrate the Crown Uptown Theatre at 3207 E. Douglas is having a Hitchcock Film Series starting on Monday, Aug. 5. Here’s the lineup (and his cameo in each film):
“Psycho” (1960) — One of my favorite movies ever! The film tells the story of Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), who steals $40,000 from her employer and hits the road where she ends up at the Bates Motel in Fairvale, Calif., run by a sweet fellow named Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), who it turns out has some, uh, mommy issues. Hitchcock cameo: Near the beginning of the movie, he’s seen wearing a cowboy hat outside Marion’s office. Yee-haw! Showing at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5.
“Rear Window” (1954) — Recuperating from a broken leg, a wheelchair-bound photographer (James Stewart) spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder. With the help of his nurse and girlfriend, he tries to catch the murderer. Hey, you gotta pass the time somehow when you’re laid up. Hitchcock cameo: Occurs about 25 minutes into the movie. He’s seen winding the clock in the songwriter’s apartment. 7 p.m. Aug. 19.
“Vertigo” (1958) — A former police detective (James Stewart) wrestles with personal demons and a fear of heights. He is hired to follow a beautiful woman (Kim Novak) he becomes obsessed with. Hitchcock cameo: Occurs about 10 minutes into the movie. He’s seen walking across a shipyard carrying what appears to be a case of some sort. 7 p.m. Aug. 26.
“The BIrds” (1963) — Another one of my faves and inspirations (particularly for a scene in my zombie film “The Dead Can’t Dance”), about a wealthy San Francisco socialite (Tippi Hedren) who follows a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that takes a turn for the bizarre when birds suddenly begin to attack people. Feel the full wrath of avian fury! Hitchcock cameo: At the start of the movie he’s seen walking two dogs out of a pet shop (they were actually his, according to IMDb; white terriers named Geoffrey and Stanley). 7 p.m. Sept. 9.
Admission to all films is $6. For more information, go to www.crownuptown.com.