Hitchcock Movies for Every Quarantine Mood


For a director with a style so distinct that everybody knows what “Hitchcockian” means, Alfred Hitchcock dealt with a wide range of moods in his 50-ish years of filmmaking. While we’re all locked inside, cycling through emotions from melancholy to manic optimism, from cabin fever to suppressed panic, here are seven Hitchock joints that suit particular quarantine moods. And they’re always worth a watch no matter what mood you’re in.

Rear Window
Lean into isolation with Rear Window
COVID-19 has turned us all into Jeff Jefferies, the broken-legged photographer/voyeur played by Jimmy Stewart. He gets so obsessed with the little dramas of his neighbors across the way that he can barely tear himself away for his girlfriend, Grace freaking Kelly. But his compulsive peeping pays off when he witnesses a murder - or does he? I’ve been feeling sorry for city dwellers who don’t have backyards or balconies during this lockdown, but if their neighbors are this fascinating, I’m jealous.
Where to watch it

Throw a virtual dinner party with Rope
An 80-minute film about 80 minutes in one evening, famously edited into one continuous shot. You can watch the sun slowly set and the city light up as the party progresses from drinks to dinner to dessert to denouement. The guests, again including Jimmy Stewart, engage in the most loaded banter in the history of small talk - except for the one guest whose dead body is hidden under the buffet. After a night with these creepy hosts, you might not miss dinner parties quite as much.
Where to watch it

To Catch a Thief
Plan your vacation with To Catch a Thief
The movie that will make you wonder why anyone ever lives anywhere but the French Riviera. Even on a rear-projection background, no less than Cary Grant and Grace Kelly are outshone by the spectacular VistaVision panoramas of the Côte d’Azur. This claustrophobia cure is lavish with Mediterranean sunshine; even Grant’s hillside vista is basically a pavilion, as much outdoors as in. The story’s a light, breezy romp, just like a vacation should be.
Where to watch it

The Trouble With Harry
Take a new walk with The Trouble With Harry
Speaking of light, this murder comedy is one of Hitchock’s frothiest. I’m grateful that I have a pretty neighborhood to walk around, but even here, well, it’s getting old. Time to set out for the New England autumn splendour of The Trouble with Harry. These characters are always walking everywhere in their hilly little precinct, and I would, too. It’s kind of the anti-Rear Window, with a few people in big wide open spaces, and a murder that doesn’t seem to bother people all that much.
Where to watch it

Question your sanity with Vertigo
What day is it? If I eat macaroni and cheese at 9 AM, is it an early lunch or a really late dinner? What is my name? Isn’t that a weird word? Name. Name. Say it. It’s so weird. Name. When isolation shakes your grip on reason, commiserate with (you guessed it) Jimmy Stewart. If you’ve never seen this, I don’t want to give too much away. Just be ready for some appropriately head-spinning twists, made with such intensity and invention that its trademark zoom-in, dolly-out shot is called the “Vertigo effect.”
Where to watch it

The Birds
Be thankful you’re inside with The Birds
Then there are those Hitchcock movies that remind you just how bad the outside could be. If you haven’t seen it in a while. be prepared for all the cliches to fall away when the birds finally make their move. No number of parodies can rob the bird attacks of their shocking power. Hmm, maybe this couch isn’t so bad.
Where to watch it

Appreciate your housemate(s) with Rebecca
Maybe it’s not isolation per se that’s driving you crazy, but the people you’re isolated with. It could be worse: you could be the new bride of gloomy windower Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier), and the new boss of an unsettling housekeeper who is almost as obsessed with the dead Rebecca as he is. The oppressive atmosphere in this mansion will make even a crowded studio apartment feel like a blessed relief - and you’ll be grateful all over again for your spouse, kids, roommates, or whoever is sharing your space.
Where to watch it

Are you finding any other Hitchcock movies peculiarly appropriate to your current circumstances? Please share. I think we’re gonna be here a while.