Do You Like Hitchcock? (DVD)
Directed by Dario Argento
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment
Do you like Hitchcock movies? That is a pretty reasonable question you should ask yourself before diving into Dario Argento's Do You Like Hitchcock? While you certainly do not have to possess a great deal of knowledge about Alfred Hitchcock's classic films, it does help if you have a basic understanding of at least three of them: Rear Window, Strangers on a Train, and Dial M for Murder. Along the road, if you know very much about Mr. Hitchcock's pictures, you can also spot some other small nods like musical cues.
Suspense films don't always work for me. Often it's a case of character development, or lack thereof, that keeps me from giving a damn who lives and who is about to snuff it. Sometimes the suspense just doesn't build right because too many shots linger on either a person's face or an object. I am, however, happy to say that Dario Argento does not stick a single finger in the pie known as failure when it comes to Do You Like Hitchcock?
Young university student Giulio (Elio Germano) is a peeping tom. You would be too if a slender, dark-haired beauty like Sasha (Elisabetta Rocchetti) lived just across from you and has never heard of such a thing as privacy. Giulio loves him some titties, and fun bags make more than just one appearance on one actress. Tits are wonderful, and foreign tits are even more lovely since there's less silicon flying around there than Hollywood.
The casting for this film subscribes to the Slither rule. This rule is ... hire people who look like the part instead of finding the most attractive people. I want university students who major in film to look like university students majoring in film. I want glasses, moles, bad skin, and bodies that couldn't bench press two fleas. Giulio made a connection with me because he fit the bill. He had a lovely girlfriend but still got off on looking at other girls through his window and on his bike and just about everywhere else. Wow, he was a little pervert. My kinda guy!
Giulio likes Hitchcock. He has posters of Hitchcock movies I've only dreamed about owning. He also knows his shit when it comes to plot lines other than "Norman Bates likes to kill women." Giulio also happens to be lucky enough, maybe, to have been just across the street when a very violent murder occurs. A few spots of this film made me believe Evil Ed from Fright Night was going to pop out butt naked just to say, "You're so cool, Brewster!" Wishful thinking, I know, but you'll see what I mean while watching.
The film isn't exactly violent until the last half hour or so, and there isn't much gore to speak of. I don't want to ruin what is offered, but the effects, when they arrive, are bloody and crunchy.
Do You Like Hitchcock? moves at a pretty even pace. The story doesn't get muddled up with scenes that don't contribute to the story or dialogue that doesn't give us an insight to the characters. There is even a nice long scene with no dialogue at all apart from a scream of agony at its conclusion.
But back to the boobies. While the character names for the females are foreign enough to be memorable, it's really their tits that identify them. Who needs to remember a face when the color of the nipple or the curve of the breast is just as descriptive? I am only kidding, but damn, those were nice.
The story wraps itself up too quickly at first, but then you suddenly realize it's not over. I was hoping for a better resolution at the end; it just left me wanting more. There's no real investigative work done because maybe the twists in the plot took too long and loose ends needed to be tied up in a rush.
I would recommend this bit of Dario's work to anyone. Sure, it borrows heavily from Hitchcock's work, but that is the point. The man managed to put in three of Alfred's stories and keep it from becoming some sort of brain-melting mess. The acting is realistic, the characters are watchable, and the whole film keeps you wanting to know if Giulio's detective work is right or wrong.
It's been said before here on Dread Central that the Masters of Horror DVDs have spoiled us when it comes to extras. I was certainly hoping for a bounty of material since this was Dario Argento's ode to Hitchcock. The box doesn't really help us out when a special feature is called Do You Like Hitchcock?: Backstage. I was looking forward to a little one-on-one with Dario telling us why he made this film or at least pointing out some Hitchockian bits that we may have missed. This is, sadly, not the case. The big treat here is a behind-the-scenes look with no structure that lacks both narraction and subtitles. It's just clip after clip of Dario saying "stop." I don't speak Italian so had no idea what Mr. Argento was going on about while giving direction to a group of actors. On a good note, however, we do get to see a little bit of gore.
Dario Argento's bio is pretty lengthy, but it is the standard sort of entry that is plain text with a list of his films on the final page that can be navigated with the directional keys on your remote. You made me sad, Anchor Bay. This is one of the rare times I have ever been put out by one of your DVD releases.
Oh, don't forget that a widescreen presentation is also considered a special feature. I'll let this one slide since I have a 16x9 television, but what about everyone else with a standard set? I'd trade this feature in for maybe a commentary with subtitles.
While I'm picking at the bones here, there are two things lacking on this DVD: Dolby 5.1 and a clean transfer. The movie goes from a semi-crisp picture to a slightly grainy one. Black areas never seem washed out, but greens can get a bit speckley. It certainly isn't an eyesore but hardcore hi-def buffs are sure to notice.
Dolby 5.1 surround sound is on almost everything these days. I think it was even on an old copy of Dead and Buried I bought from Germany. Why isn't it here? I can understand leaving 5.1 out because there isn't much going on to make use of it, but during the first murder it could have been very helpful.
• Do You Like Hitchcock?: Backstage
• Dario Argento Bio
• Trailer gallery
4 out of 5