Joan Fontaine, best known for psychological thrillers produced by Alfred Hitchcock, has died in California at the age of 96, her friend Noel Beutel said.
The Oscar-winning actress – whose real name is Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland – died in her sleep on Sunday in her home in Carmel.
Born in Japan to British parents, Joan and her older sister Olivia de Havilland moved to the US to pursue acting careers.
Joan Fontaine won an Oscar as a vulnerable wife in the movie Suspicion in 1942
Joan Fontaine won an Oscar as a vulnerable wife in the movie Suspicion in 1942.
Alfred Hitchcock also cast Joan Fontaine in the lead role in his first Hollywood work Rebecca.
Her other films included The Constant Nymph, Jane Eyre and Letter from an Unknown Woman.
Joan Fontaine’s four marriages ended in divorce and her constant and lifelong feud with her sister was a Hollywood legend.
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Scarlett Johansson fills the role of Janet Leigh, who was famously “killed” in the shower scene for her Golden Globe-winning performance as Marion Crane in 1960 Alfred Hitchcock suspense/horror film Psycho.
In the first look at Hitchcock movie’s trailer, Scarlett Johansson’s feminine form is alluded to twice, once over a dinner meeting with Alfred Hitchcock [Anthony Hopkins] and again when the filmmaker speaks to his wife [Helen Mirren].
Scarlett Johansson, 27, swans into frame during the trailer wearing in a low-cut halter neck peach satin dress, before sitting across the table from Alfred Hitchcock to discuss the role.
As the New Yorker begins to gesticulate, she asks: “How exactly are you going to shoot this shower scene? Well, it’s only from here up I’m not exactly boyish.”
Towards the end of the footage, we also see Helen Mirren’s character Alma Reville tell her husband: “Ooh, you imp! You’ve got n****y in there.”
To which he responds: “Well, her br***ts were rather large. It’s a challenge not to show them.”
Scarlett Johansson fills the role of Janet Leigh in Hitchcock movie
As Hitchcock‘s trailer opens, Anthony Hopkins provides an eerie voiceover, revealing: “All of us harbor dark recesses of violence and horror, I’m just a man hiding in the corner with a camera, watching.”
Helen Mirren plays the long-suffering wife, seen in bed reading the script: “It was the knife, that a moment later cut off her scream and her head, charming Doris Day should do it as a musical!”
It then cuts to a business meeting, where the filmmaker is told: “No one respects the name Hitchcock more than Paramount, but even a talented man sometimes backs the wrong horse.”
After he’s told he can make it if he can finds the money himself, Alfred Hitchcock whips out his cheque book.
However, the movie becomes an obsession and a financial nightmare after film bosses try to ban the film from hitting cinemas, leading to domestic troubles at home.
Alfred Hitchcock is seen shouting at Alma Reville, saying: “I’m under extraordinary pressures on this picture and the least you can do is give me your full support.”
But she responds: “We’ve mortgaged our house. I am your wife, I celebrate with you when the reviews are good, I cry for you when they are bad.
“And I put up with those people who look through me as if I were invisible as all they can see is the great and glorious genius that is Alfred Hitchcock!”
Speaking of the film still that was released as a teaser yesterday of Scarlett Johansson behind the wheel of a car in the same pose as Janet Leigh, director Sacha Gervasi said: “When we took that still of Scarlett behind the wheel and put it up against the still of Janet behind the wheel in Psycho, it was eerie.
“The extent to which Scarlett was able to channel Janet [was] a real surprise. She brought it in such a way that no one really anticipated.”
Hitchcock movie, which hits screens on November 23, also stars Jessica Biel as Vera Miles.
The director notes that the beautiful Total Recall star faced the same challenges that Vera Miles did to get into character.
“Hitchcock dressed her up in a wig and did everything they could to make the beautiful Vera Miles look frumpy,” Sacha Gervasi said.
“What Hitch tried to do to Vera we tried to do to Jessica, and the results were equally ridiculous. It is not possible to make Jessica Biel dowdy.”
Vera Miles was an American actress who worked closely with Alfred Hitchcock, notably in Psycho, having played the sister of the Janet Leigh’s character, which she reprised in Psycho II.
Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo has usurped Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane as the greatest film of all time in a poll by the British Film Institute’s Sight and Sound magazine.
Sight and Sound polls its experts once a decade – and Citizen Kane has been their top pick for the last 50 years.
This time, 846 distributors, critics, academics and writers chose Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 suspense thriller, about a retired police officer with a fear of heights.
Starring James Stewart and Kim Novak, Vertigo beat Citizen Kane by 34 votes.
In the last poll 10 years ago, it was five votes short of toppling Citizen Kane.
Alfred Hitchcock called it his most personal film and it sees the director tackle one of his recurring themes – love as a fetish that degrades women and deranges men.
It opens with police officer Scotty Ferguson (James Stewart) retiring from the police force after his vertigo inadvertently leads to the death of a colleague during a rooftop chase.
He is then hired by an old friend, whose wife Madeleine (Kim Novak) has been behaving strangely.
As the story plays out against a glistening San Francisco skyline, there are dozens of twists and revelations that challenge the audience’s preconceptions about the characters and events.
It has become famous for a camera trick Alfred Hitchcock invented to represent Scotty’s vertigo: A simultaneous zoom-in and pull-back of the camera that creates a disorientating depth of field, known as a “dolly zoom” or “trombone shot”.
Vertigo has usurped Citizen Kane as the greatest film of all time in a poll by the BFI's Sight and Sound magazine
Like 1941’s Citizen Kane, Vertigo received mixed reviews on release but has grown in stature as time passed.
The BFI’s list contained few surprises, with the top 10 mostly representing a reshuffle of the 2002 list – and all of the films more than 40 years old.
Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story from 1953 was ranked third, bettering its last placement of number five, while Jean Renoir’s La Regle Du Jeu dropped one place from three to four.
The two new entries in the top 10 were both silent – Dziga Vertov’s Man With a Movie Camera (1929) at number eight, and Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1927) at nine.
The most recent film in the top 10 was Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) at six.
The top British film was The Third Man which came in at number 73.
For the poll, the panel voted for 2,045 films overall.
They were asked to interpret “greatest” as they chose – whether the film was most important to film history, aesthetic achievement or personal impact on their own view of cinema.
“This result reflects changes in the culture of film criticism,” Nick James, the editor of Sight and Sound said.
“The new cinephilia seems to be not so much about films that strive to be great art, such as Citizen Kane, and that use cinema’s entire arsenal of effects to make a grand statement, but more about works that have personal meaning to the critic.
“Vertigo is the ultimate critics’ film because it is a dreamlike film about people who are not sure who they are but who are busy reconstructing themselves and each other to fit a kind of cinema ideal of the ideal soul mate.”
Meanwhile, in a separate poll run by the magazine involving 358 film directors, Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story was voted the Greatest Film of All Time.
Again Citizen Kane was knocked down to number two, a place it shared with Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Vertigo took seventh place.
Directors including Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen and Mike Leigh participated in the poll.
The full results of the polls will be published in Sight and Sound’s September issue.
CRITICS TOP 10 FILMS OF ALL TIME
1. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
2. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
3. Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953)
4. La Regle Du Jeu (Jean Renoir, 1939)
5. Sunrise: a Song for Two Humans (F.W. Murnau, 1927)
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
7. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
8. Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1927)
10. 8 ½ (Federico Fellini, 1963)
Source: Sight & Sound
DIRECTOR’S TOP 10 FILMS
1. Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953)
=2 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
=2 Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
4. 8 ½ (Federico Fellini, 1963)
5. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1980)
6. Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
=7 The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
=7 Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
9. Mirror (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1974)
10. Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, 1948)
Source: Sight & Sound