The first in a series of made-for-television thrillers commissioned by Italy’s RAI Trade, Do You Like Hitchcock? is, like Dario Argento’s creepy contribution to Showtime’s Masters of Horror series, ambitious for a small-screen enterprise, preferable to the embarrassment of 1998’s The Phantom of the Opera but still a pale imitation of the director’s early giallos. Per usual, Argento is preoccupied with what his main character can and cannot see, giving the man’s voyeuristic fetish Freudian rationalization through a giddy opening sequence, in which a young Giulio snoops on two cackling, big-bosomed women sacrificing a chicken in a cottage in the woods. Older and ostensibly wiser, Giulio (Elio Germano) lives and studies in Rome, renting movies out of a video store where a poster for Argento’s last film, The Card Player, is as prominently displayed as adverts for Psycho and Vertigo. If the film weren’t so playful and elegantly tossed off it might be tempting to read it as an acknowledgement of Argento’s delusions of grandeur, except the Italian filmmaker is not so serious, homaging Hitchcock rather than associating with him. It’s strange that for all the similarities Giulio identifies between Strangers on a Train and the criss-crossing murder mystery that comes to involve him, he’s oblivious to the fact that the general aesthetic layout of the world outside his window is evocative of Rear Window. No matter, if you are an Argento fan, the set pieces, including several gruesome murders and an unusual chase sequence aboard a motor scooter, are sure to entice—superfluous but tasty treats before the deep dish of the director’s upcoming conclusion to his Three Mothers Trilogy.
An adequate image, a little muggy but still very film-like for a TV production, and audio is more questionable than bad: Dialogue is clear and crisp, except its obvious that most of it-per usual for the Italian giallo-was recorded in post, by voiceover actors who spoke better English than the film's stars.
A making-of featurette that might have benefited from tidbits about Mother of Tears, which is currently in preproduction, a meaty director bio, and trailers for some of Argento's greatest films.
This trivial but fun Argento lark can be considered something of a recovery for the director after The Card Player.