Desperate to stay relevant at the dawn of the ’60s (even after box office smash, North By Northwest), the Master of Suspense latched onto Robert Bloch’s grisly horror novel and turned it into the game-changer of his career. Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren are marvelous together as Hitch and Alma, his wife and crucial collaborator. In fact, the real thrill is watching Alma operate (it was her idea to kill off Janet Leigh even earlier in the film). While Scarlett Johansson evokes more of Jamie Leigh Curtis than Leigh, she’s the pawn in Hitchcock’s cinematic trap. The Sacha Gervasi-directed Hitchcock (Nov. 23) will premiere Nov. 1 at the AFI Fest.
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