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Alfred Hitchcock: A Ticking Bomb

MUBI Special

“There is a distinct difference between “suspense” and “surprise,” and yet many pictures continually confuse the two. I’ll explain what I mean. Let us suppose that there is a bomb underneath this table between us. Nothing happens, and then all of a sudden, “Boom!” There is an explosion. The public is surprised, but prior to this surprise, it has seen an absolutely ordinary scene, of no special consequence. Now, let us take a suspense situation. The bomb is underneath the table and the public knows it […] In these conditions this same innocuous conversation becomes fascinating because the public is participating in the scene. The audience is longing to warn the characters on the screen: “You shouldn’t be talking about such trivial matters. There is a bomb beneath you and it is about to explode!" ––Alfred Hitchcock

Shadow of a Doubt

Alfred Hitchcock United States, 1943

The subject of our new retro needs no introduction: the genius of the Master of Suspense takes over! We kick things off with Hitch’s favourite of his own movies, with the great Joseph Cotten as the unforgettably perverse uncle Charlie––who knew the threat could live within the great American family.


Alfred Hitchcock United States, 1948

One of cinema’s foremost innovators in film style, Hitchcock was never more adventurous than with Rope: Using unbroken long takes to give a heightened sense of real-time passing, the unease creeping, suspense tightening—fate, unavoidable. A sinister chamber drama transformed into pure cinema.

The Trouble with Harry

Alfred Hitchcock United States, 1955

Besides mastering suspense, Hitchcock had a wonderful sense of humour. The unjustly misunderstood The Trouble With Harry sees Hitch at his most absurdist—close to Beckett and Ionesco—and displays a bizarre, surrealist, radical approach to black comedy. Also, it’s Shirley MacLaine’s first movie role!

The Man Who Knew Too Much

Alfred Hitchcock United States, 1956

A rare example of an auteur remaking his own movie, Hitchcock’s Hollywood version is pure 1950s: Technicolor, widescreen, and about marriage: a rocky relationship between Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day. When their son is kidnapped, the couple beautifully unites to get him back in this classic thriller.


Alfred Hitchcock United States, 1964

When Mark falls obsessively in love with Marnie, an icy pathological liar and common thief, he blackmails her into marrying him. However, he soon discovers that she has severe psychological issues, and he resolves to help her come to terms with her past trauma.


Alfred Hitchcock United Kingdom, 1972

In London, a naked woman’s body is discovered floating in the Thames. A sadomasochistic strangler is on the loose in Covent Garden, and innocent barman Richard Blaney is taking the blame.

Foreign Correspondent

Alfred Hitchcock United States, 1940

When a green Yank reporter (Joel McCrea) is sent to Europe to get the scoop on the imminent war, he quickly gets pulled down a rabbit hole of espionage, assassination, conspiracy, and quintessential Hitchcockian setpieces.

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