The many changes that Warner Bros and HBO Max have gone through in recent months has caused a lot of consternation and outrage amongst creatives and the media. When the beloved channel Turner Classic Movies looked like it may come under threat, three Hollywood heavy-hitters – Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Paul Thomas Anderson came to its defense. Spielberg has now made a video, selecting his picks of TCM’s September line-up, and it’s no surprise that he’s chosen an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
Spielberg explained via IndieWire; “When Alfred Hitchcock was just 5 years old, to teach him a lesson, his father had the local police station lock him in a cell for a few minutes. He told Alfred; ‘this is where naughty boys are sent to live.’ Hitchcock never got over this, and feared policemen and wrongful convictions for the rest of his life.”
Mistaken identities, and men being pursued, punished, and even killed for things they haven’t done are enduring themes in the best Alfred Hitchcock movies – most famously, North By Northwest. Hitchcock most directly addressed this in The Wrong Man (1956) starring Henry Fonda. As Spielberg says; “This film, which is based on a true story, I think is the result of Hitchcock’s childhood trauma, directly. What his father did to Hitchcock was intolerable, but maaay just have made him the Master of Suspense and one of the greatest filmmakers in film history.”
The other movies that Spielberg selects are; Vincente Minnelli’s Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) and The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), Douglas Sirk’s melodrama Imitation of Life (1959), and Gordon Douglas’s science fiction movie Them! (1954).
Each month either Spielberg, Scorsese or Paul Thomas Anderson will record a video where they share their TCM selections, up until June 2024. It will be a great way to gain an insight into their influences and their knowledge of film history. The three have banded together to commit to rescuing old movies, and that’s definitely something to celebrate.