This one has rescreened as part of various classics series at local theaters a few times, but I’ve always missed it. Well, this time I finally caught it and I have to say that it holds up as well as you’d hope. It’s never been my favorite Hitchcock or even in my top five (maybe not even in my top ten? That’s just a reflection of how many amazing Hitchcocks there are out there). But it’s still just a real masterpiece; Perkins, Leigh, Miles and Balsam are all absolutely perfect in their roles and there are scenes here that just play as totally fresh and arresting no matter how many times you’ve seen them; the dinner conversation is probably the most obvious of the non-murder/shock scenes. It’s just writing on a character/metaphorical level that one rarely sees. Seeing it on the big screen for the first time was genuinely revelatory a few times. I saw details that I’d never seen before; a drop of blood runs into the victim’s eye during the murder scene on the stairs, but most shocking of all was the fact that for the first time I realized that you can actually see the murderer’s eyes in that one shot in the shower scene when we see the close-up of the shadowed face with the knife raised. On the small screen, I always just saw the face as completely in shadow, and it is, but those eyes really burn out at you in a terrifying way on the big screen. And, oh, yes, if I haven’t convinced you yet, let me just tell you what was maybe the best part of the entire experience: hearing that astonishing Hermann score over the BIG speakers. God, that was genuinely breathtaking. When the main theme started at the beginning, I literally caught my breath. Anyway, this is a film that you really have to see, of course; and if you ever get the chance to see it on the big screen, that’s an absolute must as well. Highly recommended. 4 stars.
tl;dr – shocking and arresting horror classic holds up; performances and score remain astonishing and the script is smart and twisted. A big screen viewing is genuinely revelatory if you’re lucky enough to get the chance. 4 stars.