Thursday, October 31, 2013

Three (Mesmerizing) Hitchcock Villains Revisited on Halloween

Today (and today only) our friend Lara of Backlots is hosting a one day Hitchcock Halloween blogathon and for the occasion I'm resurrecting an old favorite from the Reel Life archives.

In January 2011 the Classic Movie Blog Association hosted a Hitchcock blogathon and I decided rather than blog about a particular film, I'd take another approach. The result was an exploration of three legendary Hitchcock killers and the actors who portrayed them: Joseph Cotten's Uncle Charlie in Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Robert Walker's Bruno Antony in Strangers on a Train (1951) and Anthony Perkins's Norman Bates in Psycho (1960). I was and still am fascinated by the complex characters of Uncle Charlie, Bruno and Norman - and with the masterful performances of the three daring actors who took their turns as what film critic/historian David Thomson calls Hitchcock's "smiling psychopaths."

Click here to read Three Classic Hitchcock Killers.

For links to Lara's blog and and more on Hitchcock Halloween, click here.


  1. Your quote from David Thompson is spot on. All three are “smiling psychopaths.” As I mentioned in my original comment, both Norman and Bruno are abnormally “close” to their mothers! I think of the three Robert Walker’s performance is my favorite. There is something in his eyes that are truly frightening. An excellent look at three of the movies three great “crazies.”

    1. I'd be hard-pressed to pick a favorite among the three performances, all are exceptional, 'bravura' turns. Walker's may be the most bold, his character most overtly mad - quite a departure from those sweet boy-next-door roles he'd been pigeon-hold in for years. It was his last completed film but as David Thomson (also) said, Bruno was his "one chance" to stretch and show what he was capable of as an actor. Luckily it was in a Hitchcock masterpiece and his performance will be admired for generations.

  2. Eve, I reread your excellent post, though it about for awhile, and concurred with my original comment that Uncle Charlie is the most chilling. The villains who appear to be normal are always the ones to be feared the most--no one can recognize them!