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Anna Karenina & Hitchcock
Anna Karenina and Hitchcock are two recent movies that are interesting, both are usually rated three out of five stars.
Anna has a fine cast with Keira Knightly, Jude Law, leading the way. It takes place in 1875+ Russia and is a Tolstoy classic book. Having never read the book, I knew little about it. The story line is as old as history and has been told in many eras. Anna is married to a well to do Russian, who is emotionless. Anna is beautiful and hungry for affection and love being starved from a non-affectionate husband. Anna meets a dashing Russian officer and both know it is love at first sight, yet, because of their positions in society, fight the temptation until resistance is futile. Anna's younger sister also fancy's the same man and is angered when she cannot win his heart. Soon, after several sex capades, Anna becomes pregnant. All during this time of infidelity, rumors spread among the socialites of the Russian aristocrats, putting embarrassment and shame on her and the husband. When the husband becomes aware of it, he stays in control of his emotions, but wants to continue the sham marriage for appearances sake. The full public outburst of love for the officer comes when he is in a horse race and the horse collides with another and he his downed causing Anna to scream her love for him, as her husband is nearby. Anna knows what she is doing is wrong but by the third act, she no longer cares what others think. Yet, Anna and the officer also begin fighting as she becomes paranoid that he fancy's another younger woman. This is the last straw and Anna walks into an oncoming train committing suicide.
In Hitchcock, it focuses on this famous directors personality and his relations with his wife and actresses that he has secret longings for. The time frame is 1959 and a while he and his wife are famous, they are in bad shape marital wise. They sleep in separate beds, seem to be alienated as he tries to make Psycho, a movie the studio was reluctant to agree to and later release. In fact, when it was done, it opened only in TWO theaters in LA. There were the usual money issues and at one time, his wife saves a still born movie when he is sick for days. The movie shows how valuable his wife, Alma was and how he thought otherwise until the end of the movie. The cast is great with Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock (very well done), Helen Mirren as Alma, and Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh. All play the roles perfect.
Hitchcock is interesting if you are into his movies and the back story of the making Psycho. In fact, the most revelation about this is during the filming of the famous slasher shower scene. In the first take, Johansson was nude behind a shower curtain screaming pathetically. Hitchcock became agitated by the pathetic scream. He started yelling to her to act really scared-SCREAM! When this failed to motivate her, Hitchcock grabbed the butcher knife, walked to the shower curtain, off camera, opened and it and pretended to slash her. She was shocked and scared and screamed for her life, so she thought. Hitchcock had motivated her. That scream is now iconic movie history.