Hitchcock Classics at Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Every Tuesday, Landmark’s E Street Cinema screens a classic film as part of its “Retro Replay” series, and each month brings a different organizing theme.
On Tuesdays in July, for example, the venue screened another road movie in its #RoadLife series, with films as varied as The Great Pee-Wee Adventure, The hangoverand Mad Max: Fury Road.
August brings with it a celebration of Sir Alfred Hitchcock’s cinematic achievements, not least for the fact that the master of suspense was born on the 13th of the month in east London.
Kicking off the “Happy Birthday, Mr. Hitchcock” series at the E Street Cinema in downtown DC is a screening of one of the filmmaker’s most ambitious and entertaining works, from north to northwest (1959).
Cary Grant plays a Madison Avenue publicist who is mistaken for a CIA agent by very mean men, led by the silky-voiced James Mason, while Eva Marie Saint steps in as the blonde femme fatale. A lean, equine Martin Landau is creepy as Mason’s No. 1 (and yes, there’s a distinct whiff of homoeroticism between the two).
The film is known for its larger-than-life sets, including a seven-minute silent stunner in a cornfield and a jaw-dropping brawl atop Mount Rushmore. Bernard Herrmann’s memorable score practically pushes the action forward, and Saul Bass’ opening credits rank among his best. (August 2nd)
Next week brings Strangers on a train, a masterful 1951 thriller starring Farley Granger as an amateur tennis star unwittingly drawn into a murder scheme by psychopath Robert Walker. The film is well known for its sly gay undertones and is based on a novel by groundbreaking lesbian author Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley). (August 9)
One of the greatest movies of all time rushes in the middle of the month. And if you’ve never seen The birds on the big screen with an audience, you should think about it, because it only adds to the power of this heartbreaking cautionary tale in which our beautiful feathered friends rage against humanity.
Tippi Hedren (Melanie Griffith’s future mother) and Rod Taylor star, but the best performances come from Jessica Tandy as the wary mother and Suzanne Pleshette as the jaded schoolteacher. Plus, the birds themselves are damn terrifying. (August 16)
shadow of a doubt (1943) has been called Hitchcock’s “indisputable first masterpiece” and the most “intimate and harrowing” film in his repertoire. With a screenplay co-written by Thornton Wilder, the thriller revolves around a calculating and charming killer (Joseph Cotten) who hides out in the idyllic small hometown of his sister and her family. Her young niece (Teresa Wright) grows increasingly suspicious of her uncle, who in turn plots to kill her in order to protect his secret. (August 23)
Last but not least to filter is vertigo, one of Hitchcock’s most complicated films, considered by most moviegoers to be one of his finest achievements. Jimmy Stewart stars as a detective whose fear of heights leads him to a dangerous obsession with Kim Novak, the lookalike of a woman he couldn’t save from a suicidal jump years before. (August 30)
Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m., Landmark’s E Street Cinema is located at 555 11th St. NW. Tickets are $7. Visit www.landmarktheatres.com or call 202-452-7672.