DVD available at Amazon.com
Anchor Bay Entertainment presents Do You Like Hitchcock. Screenplay by Dario Argento and Franco Ferrini. Running time: 93 minutes. Unrated. Theatrical release 2005. DVD released August 15, 2006.
A title like this should be used on a documentary about Brian DePalma. Do You Like Hitchcock? is a homage from Italian horror king Dario Argento to the master of suspense.
Giulio is a critical film studies student who is obsessed with the movies of Alfred Hitchcock and the German Expressionist movement. Like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window, he enjoys spying on his neighbors – especially the female ones that don’t mind being indoor nudists. He gets his DVDs from a neighborhood indie rental shop (they must not have Netflix in Italy). While browsing the shelves, he overhears two women discussing Strangers On A Train. They seem intrigued by the concept of strangers killing for each other. Giulio is shocked when one of the women’s mother gets beaten to death. He think the ladies have made a Hitchcock inspired murder pact. He has to use all his cinema knowledge to solve the crime before he becomes a victim.
This is a film made for film junkies which seems to cover most of the Argento junkies I’ve encountered. There’s constant references to other movies besides the work of Hitchcock so even knowing Vertigo won’t help. You’ve got have some fierce knowledge to keep up with Argento. There should have been a commentary track to point out every homage moment. But the movie doesn’t become a complete inside joke. For those who haven’t taken Hitchcock 101, the movie still works on its own as a thriller.
The biggest problem with this tribute is that Argento didn’t cast this film like a Hitchcock movie. Elio Germano lacks suave allure of Cary Grant or homespun charms of Jimmy Stewart. He looks like the best friend on the Italian version of One Tree Hill. The whole movie plays best if you imagine it as Dawson’s Creek Goest to Hell.
The one big unbelievable point in the entire film is that Giulio would have a hot girlfriend. He’s not even studying to be a filmmaker – he wants to be a film critic. Those guys never get laid at the university. What woman wants to hump the next A.O. Scott? When was the last time a supermodel confessed that she wants to butter Roger Ebert’s popcorn? I can’t buy the relationship, but I’ll overlook it since his girlfriend isn’t shy on screen
While this movie was made for Italian television, Argento didn’t make it family friendly. This was not a segment for Rome’s version of Wonderful World of Disney. There’s nudity along with intense gore action. The only thing missing from his trademarked style is the freakish tracking shots that creep around the set. TV work doesn’t quite allow the luxury of setting up such shots. Luckily the loss of this element doesn’t hurt the film. This is Argento’s most entertaining film in the last two decades. It won’t replace Susperia, Deep Red and Tenebre on Argento’s must see list, but Do You Like is a step up from his Phantom of the Opera. Do You Like Hitchcock? is a likable enough film.
The film is an anamorphic 1.66.
This film is presented in English Dolby Digital Stereo with only English subtitles. I’m not sure why there’s no Italian track, but the lips aren’t that off. The bad news is the echo in the English track. It sounds like the dubbing session took place at an indoor pool.
Do You Like Hitchcock?: Backstage (6:25) A raw behind the scenes look at the more gruesome stunts in the film.
Dario Argento Bio – Don’t get too excited. It’s just a typed biography.
|Inside Pulse’s Ratings for Do You Like Hitchcock
||RATING(OUT OF 10)
||7(NOT AN AVERAGE)|
The Inside Pulse
Dario Argento might not be fully back to form, but with Do You Like Hitchcock?, he’s made an entertaining film. It must have been relaxing for Argento to make a film that rips off elements of Hitchcock films without having to make excuses for why he didn’t have to be that original. I’m looking forward to see his next installment on Masters of Horror.