Movie Diary 7/27/2020

Duel (Steven Spielberg, 1971). Yes, this is my idea of a birthday movie. I saw it when it was first broadcast on the ABC Movie of the Week, and it’s still one of my favorite Spielberg pictures. It’s not a one-person movie – there are lots of peripheral characters – but kudos to Dennis Weaver for carrying off a tour de force anyway.

The Man Who Knew Too Much (Alfred Hitchcock, 1934). One of the interesting things about Hitchcock’s first version of this story is the tone: mostly played in a jaunty style (as would be The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes), despite the ostensibly grim subject matter. Still, Hitchcock saves some graver oomph for the close-ups, including a choice one for Peter Lorre near the end that suggests how intrigued Hitchcock could be by the devils in his films.