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Tom Tangney

'Hitchcock' introduces genius behind Alfred

Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren star as husband and wife in the new movie "Hitchcock," a slight but enjoyable account of the making of the classic horror film, "Psycho."

Everybody knows "Psycho," right? That screeching music from the shower scene is one of the most famous audio cuts in the history of movies. Not surprisingly, it plays a crucial role in "Hitchcock," a film about how the great director Alfred Hitchcock made "Psycho." His secret weapon was his wife Alma.

Unbeknownst to most moviegoers, Alma was his film editor, his screenplay doctor, and his advisor on nearly all aspects of his filmmaking. For instance, it was her idea to add the music to the shower scene.

"I did not want music over the shower music scene," says Hopkins in the role of Hitchcock.

Alfred relented and the rest is history. This movie is full of these kinds of moments - little re-creations of key scenes that film fans can't help but get a kick out of.

What's perhaps oddest part about this bio-pic of the master of suspense is how relatively light and airy it is.

Hitchcock made his reputation with dozens of dark films about crime, murder and obsession and there's always been a whiff of perverseness about his personal life as well. He seems to have had a strange relationship with many of his leading blonde ladies.

And yet as twisted as his movies and personal life might have been, "Hitchcock" ends up practically commemorating Alfred and Alma's marriage. Helen Mirren plays the seemingly mousey Alma with a quiet ferocity that's very effective.

If the movie "Hitchcock" is to be believed, Alfred Hitchcock was "great and glorious" in no small part because of Alma. And Alfred knew it.

Tom Tangney, KIRO Radio Host, Film & Media Critic
Tom Tangney is the co-host of The Tom and Curley Show on KIRO Radio and resident enthusiast of...everything. As the film and media critic on the Morning News on KIRO Radio, he espouses his love for books, movies, TV, art, pop culture, politics, sports, and Husky football.
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By day, you can hear Tom on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, and by night, he sits in the dark, making snide comments about what he sees on the silver screen.

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