If you knew how much I loved Hitchcock films…and, in particular, the way that Hitchcock treats both FOOD and ARTWORK in those films, you’d know how easy it was to say YES to Bea’s suggestion that we have a Hitchcock-themed New Year’s Eve Party this year. This summer, the kids got hooked on Rear Window and The Lady Vanishes…So, on December 31st, it’s a Hitchcock marathon with a menu and games to go with. Too bad I don’t have Grace Kelly’s gorgeous black and white Rear Window dress to wear for dinner…But, then, pajamas are also de rigeur where Hitch was concerned…And, of course, “relaxed” suspense is the theme of the evening. As you know, our NYE is a fairly hands-off affair. No major cooking or baking projects (we’re ordering chinese and scooping ice cream, see below), and, aside from a few awesome easy-chair games, no major “crafty” stuff will be going on around here….So, here’s how we’ll be celebrating New Year’s Eve 2014 and Ringing in the 1-5….As long as you have access to the films and a decent chinese take-out, you’ll be able to pull off a similar party at your house with little or no difficulty.
The Lunchbox Season’s
Family New Year’s Eve
The Hitchcock Edition!
Our List of Young Adult Friendly Hitchcock Films
The 39 Steps (1935)
The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Dial M for Murder (1954)
Rear Window (1954)
To Catch a Thief (1955)
North by Northwest (1959)
Tea for the Table
The Lady Vanishes
Harriman’s Herbal Tea (a Million Mexicans Drink It)
Movie Night Green Tea from David’s Tea, served with sugar cubes, cream, and cinnamon sticks
To Catch a Thief
Roadster Picnic Fried Chicken
Chinese Take-Out: Honey Garlic Chicken Wings
Dinner from 21: Lobster & Frites
Chinese Take-Out: Lobster with Black Bean Sauce and Green Beans with Pork or Tofu
Affogato du Soir: A scoop of house ice cream topped with a shot of hot espresso or hot fudge sauce and a single M&M “poison pill”
The Signature Cocktail
The Lunchbox Season’s Notorious Mimosa
Champagne or Sparkling Apple Juice, Orange Juice, and a drop of Elderflower Syrup
And so that you’ll have a really “Good Evening,” as Hitch would say…!
Hitchcock was famous for making cameo appearances in his films.
Spot where Hitchcock makes a cameo in each of his films. The first to find each Hitch and call him out wins a…?
Answer key: The 39 Steps: The man tossing a white cigarette box while the bus pulls up for Donat and Manheim to leave the theatre; The Lady Vanishes: In Victoria station wearing a black coat and smoking; Notorious: Drinking champagne at the party in the mansion; Rope: Close to the beginning of the film, walking beside a lady, with a newspaper; Strangers on a Train: Boarding a train with a double bass; Dial M for Murder: On the left in a class reunion photograph; Rear Window: Winding a clock while talking to the song writer in his apartment; To Catch a Thief: Sitting next to Cary Grant on a bus; Vertigo: Walking on the street with a trumpet case; North by Northwest: Missing a bus at the outset of the film.
Here’s a little video primer of Hitchcock’s Cameos.
Intermediate: Self-Drawn Silhouettes
Hitch was famous for his silhouette, which he used as the logo for his television show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Try to draw your own Hitchcock-style silhouette.
Intermediate: Abstract Portraits
In Strangers on a Train, Bruno’s mother, Mrs. Antony, paints an unseemly portrait of Saint Francis which Bruno “mistakes” for his own despised father.
Use oil pastels and plain paper to create a quick abstract portrait of someone famous. It need not be flattering.
Here’s a link between Ms. Antony’s “creation” and the work of Georges Rouault.
Advanced: Identify the MacGuffin
Hitchcock is said to have coined the term MacGuffin to characterize a plot device that motivates the characters and advances the story, but which sometimes has little other relevance to the story itself. In several interviews he told the story about the origin of the phrase:
“It might be a Scottish name, taken from a story about two men in a train. One man says, ‘What’s that package up there in the baggage rack?’ And the other answers, ‘Oh that’s a McGuffin.’ The first one asks ‘What’s a McGuffin?’ ‘Well’ the other man says, ‘It’s an apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands.’ The first man says, ‘But there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands,’ and the other one answers ‘Well, then that’s no McGuffin!’ So you see, a McGuffin is nothing at all.”
Can you identify the McGuffins in the films we’ll watch tonight? Write as many down as you can, and we’ll see if you’ve gotten them right, or if we can justify your answer anyhow!
Answer key: The 39 Steps: the 39 Steps, or, what Mr Memory memorized, or, the plans for a secret engine; The Lady Vanishes: the secret song, the box of tea?; Notorious: the uranium ore; Rope: David Kentley’s location, the rope, the wrong hat; Strangers on a Train: the lighter; Dial M for Murder: the Key; Rear Window: Mrs. Thorwald’s Body; To Catch a Thief: the thief’s identity; Vertigo: Scottie’s vertigo, the necklace; North by Northwest: George Kaplan; the microfilm.