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Proving Hitchcock Right, Bird Attacks Are Turning Violent This Summer

Red-winged blackbirds and other species are stepping up divebombing attacks on humans.

Fleming Smith reports: Stephen Vedder used to enjoy peaceful lakeside runs near his Marlborough, Mass., home. This spring, after years of coexisting with an ornery neighbor, those tranquil outings came to an end.

The culprit was a red-winged blackbird.

More than 250 million of the birds live across North and Central America, and this summer some are feeling extra aggressive toward human neighbors—driving them to change walking routes, wear protective headgear or furiously wave arms above their heads as they jog.

“You talk to people about being attacked by birds, and they look at you like you’re crazy,” says Mr. Vedder, a 60-year-old programmer. “This is ‘The Birds’ all over again, but it’s real!”

Many people who have long lived in harmony with the birds have noticed an uptick in their aerial assaults this season. Bird-on-human attacks are growing more common as people encroach on their habitats, says Lori Naumann, information officer at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Psycho’, Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, 1960

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[PHOTOS] Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’


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Poster: ‘Rebeca’ Un Film De Hitchcock

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[PHOTO] Alfred Hitchcock and Cary Grant on the set of Notorious, 1946

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Motion Poster: Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’

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Italian Poster for Hitchcock’s ‘The Wrong Man’, by Luigi Martinati

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Homage To Psycho: A Halloweenization of Shower Interrupted, Art by Al Buell

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A Homage To Psycho.  A Halloweenization of Shower Interrupted, art by Al Buell.


Ingrid Bergman & Claude Rains in ‘Notorious’

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[PHOTO] Alfred Hitchcock on the Set of Rear Window, 1954

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Hitchcock: Rebecca Film Poster, 1940

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1950s French Re-Release for Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rope’, 1948; Le Classique du Suspense!

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1950s re-release French grande for ROPE (Alfred Hitchcock, USA, 1948)

Artist: Roger Soubie (1898-1984) [see also]

Poster source: Heritage Auctions 

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Vera Farming Fans, Start Your Engines

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Season 2 of Bates Motel is Coming to Netflix on February 7

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Pulp Fiction: ‘Vertigo’

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Cover art by Robert Maguire


[PHOTO] Alfred Hitchcock Takes a Shot

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Ben Affleck and David Fincher Reteam for ‘Strangers on a Train’ Reboot

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Hitchcock: ‘North by Northwest’

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Hitchcock: ‘To Catch a Theif’

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Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection (Limited Edition) [Blu-ray]

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[PHOTO] Grace Kelly

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[PHOTO] Grace Kelly, 1955

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Grace Kelly wearing an Edith Head gown, photographed by Philippe Halsman, 1955 (via)

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Vintage Classic: Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘PSYCHO’


Master of Suspense Alfred Hitchcock Born Today, August 13, 1899

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On this day in 1899, film director and producer Alfred Hitchcock was born in London.  Considered to be a pioneer of the suspense and psychological thriller genres, Hitchcock set precedents in the filmic techniques of camera movement, composition and editing.

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Hitchcock’s filmography includes popular classics like Psycho and Vertigo, but he also worked as “treatment advisor” (or film editor) on an unfinished Holocaust documentary commissioned by the British Army in 1945.

alfred-hitchcockbday Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] Alfred Hitchcock on Set of ‘Psycho’

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Vintage Movie Poster of the Night: Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘North by Northwest’

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[PHOTO] Hitchcock and His Scripts, 1966

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Vintage Photo of the Day: Alfred Hitchcock

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Two (and Twenty) Alfred Hitchcock Quotes

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“I’m not the sort of fellow you’d want to go camping with.”

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“Conversation is the enemy of good food and wine.”

I’ve always been fond of quotes, and epigrams, and have an odd habit of memorizing them. (though my memory is not always accurate, quotes are often misremembered, I hope I have these two preserved correctly) The first one I probably read in Reader’s Digest when I was a kid. The second one is a personal favorite.

The quote is revealing, too, because Hitchcock—not a small man—obviously loved good food. But also, hated unnecessary dialogue. The director viewed actors as chess pieces. Or spoiled children. Dialogue was almost a necessary evil, secondary to the visual story. As a director, Hitchcock was more of a technician than a dramatist.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Felix Baumgartner’s Space Jump Free Fall Video Will Give You Vertigo

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Watch the daredevil’s free-fall to Earth through his eyes

For TIME.com reports, The high-flying Felix Baumgartner is still one of the coolest daredevils of all time, and here’s the video that proves it.

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Film History: François Truffaut’s 12-Hour Interview with Alfred Hitchcock (1962)

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Got 12 hours to spare? Love movie history? Truffaut’s interview with legendary director Alfred Hitchcock isn’t for casual film hobbyists, it’s for heavyweights, hardcore cinema enthusiasts. Or Truffaut admirers with a Hitchcock itch.

From Open Culture:

 Back in 1962, François Truffaut, the inspiration behind French New Wave cinema, met with Hitchcock. And, assisted by a helpful translator, the two directors talked through Hitchcock’s life and vast filmography, moving from his early films shot it Britain (BlackmailThe 39 StepsSecret Agent), to his later Hollywood productions – North by NorthwestPsycho and Vertigo. In total, Truffaut and Hitchcock talked for over 12 hours, and, several years later, Truffaut published a now classic book based on these conversations: Alfred Hitchcock: A Definitive Study (1967).

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President Barack Obama: The Movie

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The MacGuffinization of American Politics

Ace writes: In a movie or book, “The MacGuffin” is the thing the hero wants.

Usually the villain wants it too, and their conflict over who will end up with The MacGuffin forms the basic spine of the story.

In Raiders of the Lost Ark, the MacGuffin is, of course, the Lost Ark. Indy wants it; the Nazis have it. This basic conflict over simple possession animates a two hour long movie.

Alfred Hitchcock noted — counterintuitively, when you first hear this — that the specifics of the MacGuffin don’t really matter at all to a movie. He pointed out that the audience doesn’t care at all about the MacGuffin. The hero in the movie itselfcares, but the audience doesn’t.

In one Hitchcock film, the MacGuffin was some smuggled uranium hidden in vintage wine bottles. But Hitchcock noted it didn’t matter if it was uranium in wine bottles, or a fragment of a diplomatic dispatch from the Nazi high command, or a hidden murder weapon, or photographs proving a Senator’s affair.

The Lost Ark in Raiders of the Lost Ark could have easily been replaced with some missing Shankara Stones from a Thuggee temple, or the Holy Grail. In fact, that’s exactly what they changed the MacGuffin to in the sequels.

No audience member really cared if the Nazis wound up with the Ark of the Covenant. For one thing, the audience walked into the theater knowing, as a matter of real-world historical fact, that Adolf Hitler had not ever possessed a holy artifact of unspeakable power, and that, even if had possessed such a thing secretly, it availed him not at all, because he shot himself through the temple in a bunker as the Allied forces closed in around him in 1945.

But we cared about Indy. He was a character we liked, a character that sparked our imaginations; whether he was looting a South American burial mound (illegally, by the way!) or blowing off his students by sneaking out a back window during office hours (poor work ethic, incidentally), we rooted for him to win.

A MacGuffin only has one requirement: That it be important-sounding, so that the audience understands he hero isn’t engaged in some trivial matter, but that the Stakes Are High. (Woody Allen inverted this rule in his parody espionage filmWhat’s Up Tiger Lily?, where the MacGuffin was a top-secret recipe for chicken salad.)

But an important sounding MacGuffin is just another way to increase the audience’s emotional attachment to the Hero, not to the idea of possessing the MacGuffin.

And that, of course, explains all you need to know about the abnormal political situation we find ourselves in, and the Cult of Barack Obama.

For Obama’s fanbois, this is not politics. This isn’t even America, not really, not anymore.

This is a movie. And Barack Obama is the Hero. And the Republicans are the Villains. And policy questions — and Obama’s myriad failures as an executive — are simply incidental. They are MacGuffins only, of no importance whatsoever, except to the extent they provide opportunities for Drama as the Hero fights in favor of them. Read the rest of this entry »