This week in Film — BLOW THE MAN DOWN and Alfred Hitchcock

“I don’t make slices of life. I make slices of cake.” —Alfred Hitchcock

From the Master of Suspense, to a slight case of accidental murder in a New England fishing village. Lots of good things to read and watch this weekend.

First up, two sisters and a town full of secrets on the New England coast:

Easter Cove has a history, and it’s written on the faces of the women who live here. Susie Gallagher (June Squibb) is squat and rumpled, but even at 90 years old, she’s not someone you’d want to cross. She spends most of her time with Doreen (Marceline Hugot) and Gail (Annette O’Toole), and the three of them remember the old days of Easter Cove all too well. Their gender was not treated fairly back then. But somewhere along the way, the younger generation showed up, and women like Enid (Margo Martindale) and Mary Margaret started running things.
That was then, this is now, and Mary Margaret died before the curtain even had a chance to rise. Left are her two daughters: Priscilla (Sophie Lowe) and Mary Beth (Morgan Saylor), who will inherit the house, the fishmonger shop and a pile of debt. Enid could step in and help out, but Susie and the others won’t let her — the cost is too high. Surprisingly, they won’t need to. It takes a little time for the nerves to steady, but once they do, Priscilla and Mary Beth prove more than capable of looking out for themselves. Women like Enid aren’t born overnight. And, as the last shot of the movie suggests, neither are women like Susie.

Boulder Weekly, Vol. 27, No. 39, “A slight case of accidental murder.

Movies like Blow the Man Down aren’t born overnight either. They draw on a long line of cinematic history, specifically the works of Alfred Hitchcock.

Few filmmakers have created a visual language the way Hitchcock did, and it permeated cinematic storytelling for future generations. And not just for popular set-pieces and inventive murders — though those play a role — but with a deep distrust for things as they seem. For five decades, Hitchcock refined his dominant themes of the wrong man, the cool blond, the controlling mother and the disconnect between exterior appearances and interior desires. His movies center on Freudian psychology and the transmission of guilt; they recoil at the threat of domesticity and relish a macabre sense of humor. They connected with audiences then, and they connect with audiences now, especially on the other side of the camera, where Hitchcock’s influence still looms large.

Home viewing: Alfred Hitchcock