Dial M for the master

Hitchcock centennial draws creepy swarm

HOLLYWOOD — As the American Cinematheque celebrated Alfred Hitchcock’s 100th birthday on Thursday at the Egyptian Theatre, there was a buzz in the air. Literally.

Earlier in the day, one of the trees lining the theater’s courtyard played host to 25,000 bees, and nobody put a better spin on the eerie afternoon than the Cinematheque’s director, Barbara Smith. “It must have been a sign,” she said. “A Hitchcock evening began with a Hitchcock twist.”

Luckily for everyone the pesky visitors were corralled and the night, which celebrated the first Universal Studios Hitchcock Intl. Director Series, kicked off in fine fashion.

Some of the guests of honor, including filmmakers Eric Mendelsohn (“Judy Berlin”), Deepa Mehta (“Fire”), Claire Denis (“I Can’t Sleep”), Ken Loach (“Ladybird, Ladybird”) and Kinji Fukasaku (“Crest of Betrayal”), were treated to a cordial welcome from the “Psycho” helmer’s daughter, Pat Hitchcock O’Connell.

“My father would really go for this,” she said. “He would be so proud to know that the craft is being recognized with such enthusiasm.”

Joining Hitchcock O’Connell were honorary committee members Joe Dante, Taylor Hackford and Arthur Hiller; thesp Robert Forster; and cineaste Charles Champlin.

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