It was never a secret that Alfred Hitchcock had a less than healthy fixation on many of the young, blond, beautiful actresses that he cast as his female leads. Nevertheless, Hitchcock’s reputation as a film professional has been severely bruised by two 2012 movies –– HBO’s The Girl (about the filming of The Birds) and the feature Hitchcock (about the filming of Psycho). They portrayed him not just as a control freak and a sadist, but as a sexual harasser and would-be rapist, especially in his grotesque treatment of Tippi Hedren. Hedren herself has been more than generous in walking a line between acknowledging Hitch’s genius and confirming his aggressive onset overtures for the historical record. What’s that famous saying about brilliant artists? Oh, yeah –– they can be real assholes.
If you want to dive full-bore into Hitch’s flamboyant obsession with peroxided female beauty, an excellent place to start is his complex, creepy 1958 thriller Vertigo, which some have called not only the director’s best film, but the greatest film ever made period. I wouldn’t argue too passionately against either proposition. As part of its outdoor “Sunset Cinema” film series, The Amon Carter Museum screens Vertigo 8-10pm Thu May 29 on the museum lawn. It’s free, but lawn seating is limited, with first come first served. The object of Jimmy Stewart’s megalomania is Kim Novak, a very underrated performer whose slow-burn acting intensity has never been given its proper due. Thanks to the Amon’s “Sunset Cinema” series, you can luxuriate in Novak’s and Hitch’s impeccable film artistry on a gorgeous late spring evening in the Fort.