Here's to You, Hitch

Alfred Hitchcock was one of Hollywood’s greatest directors. The Master of Suspense was skilled in keeping the audience on the edge of their seat until the credits rolled. So is it any wonder that his work has inspired other works? Take a look at other films which have drawn inspiration from the legend.

1. Throw Momma from the Train

In 1987, Danny DeVito and Billy Crystal appeared in Throw Momma from the Train, which followed an unstable man who takes inspiration from Strangers on a Train and decides to kill his writing teacher’s wife, in the hope that he’ll return the favor and kill his mother. The film includes scenes from Hitch’s film, which Warner Brothers was at first unwilling to let them do.

2. Disturbia

In 2007, Shia LeBeouf starred as a rebellious teenager put under house arrest who spies the new neighbor… commit murder? Sound familiar? The film shares a lot in common with Rear Window, in which James Stewart’s character is also confined to his home, though that’s due to a broken leg. Either way, the copyright owner to “It Had to be Murder,” which Rear Window was based on, brought a legal suit, feeling it was too similar. A judge ruled, however, that the “main plots are similar only at a high, unprotectable level of generality.” The creators of Disturbia did mean for the film to be an homage to Hitch’s classic film though, and LeBeouf watched the film and Straw Dogs when prepping for the role. LeBeouf said, “The people at DreamWorks are smart people, and they wanted a film that had elements of Rear Window but was totally original.”

3. Silver Streak

Gene Wilder revealed that Silver Streak was inspired by the basic premise of North by Northwest when he had a chance run in with… Cary Grant! The dapper actor took his daughter to see Wilder’s comedy and couldn’t help but ask him if it drew inspiration from Hitch. Wilder said, “Absolutely! Collin Higgins, who wrote the film, loved North by Northwest. It was one of his favorites. I think he was trying to do his version of it.”

4. Foul Play

Silver Streak screenwriter Colin Higgins also wrote Foul Play which drew inspiration from Hitch’s movies, like North by Northwest, The 39 Steps, and The Man Who Knew Too Much. The biggest nods come from Dial M for Murder and The Lady Vanishes. Goldie Hawn's date dies in a movie theater, and she goes for help, only to discover his body is missing when she gets back. Then, later when Goldie is attacked in her apartment, she’s able to defend herself by using a pair of scissors, just as Grace Kelly did.

5. High Anxiety

Speaking about Alfred Hitchcock, Mel Brooks said, “I love this man. I love his work.” So is it any wonder that Brooks wanted to parody the beloved director? When Mel came up for the idea for High Anxiety, a parody of Hitch’s films, he called up the director to get his blessing. The pair met over dinner, and later, Brooks invited Hitch to see the preview of the film, being especially worried about how the Master of Suspense would respond. Even worse is that he said absolutely nothing at the screening! But the next day, Brooks received a case of wine with a note that said, “Have no anxiety over High Anxiety. It’s a delicious film.” High Anxiety includes references to several of Hitch’s film, most notably Vertigo, as Brook’s character suffers from paralyzing episodes, just as Jimmy Stewart did.

6. Stoker

Stoker borrows its framework from Shadow of a Doubt. In both films, an uncle running from his dark past comes to visit and his close bond with his niece exposes who he truly is. Acknowledging the inspiration, Stoker also names the uncle “Uncle Charlie.”

7. Obsession

Director Brian De Palma is a huge Hitchcock fan, and it shows with 1976’s Obsession. The plot closely echoes that of Vertigo. In both stories, broken men discover women who remind them of their past and in actuality are tied to it. Vertigo was an especially meaningful film for De Palma. He said, “…it had an incredible impression on me way before I was interested in making movies. And there was something about the way the story was told and the cinematic language used in it that connected to me…”

8. Dressed to Kill

De Palma once again paid homage to Hitch with Dressed to Kill, which includes a death scene that is similar to the famous shower sequence in Psycho. We don’t want to give too much away, but the twist about the killer’s identity also borrows from the horror classic.