Alfred Hitchcock fans should enjoy this 2007 commercial by Martin Scorsese. It was commissioned by the Catalan sparkling wine maker Freixenet for the company’s annual Christmas campaign, with the concept of making a short film that would somehow weave the Freixenet brand into the plot. Scorsese responded with a nine-minute homage to the master of suspense. “Hitchcock is one of my guiding lights,” he told El País at the film’s December 2007 premier in Madrid. “It’s a satire of my own movie mania. It has to do with my love of cinema, and the impossibility of possessing it.”
The commercial is structured as a faux documentary, with Scorsese appearing as himself. With amusingly fractured logic, he explains to an interviewer his discovery of a three-and-a-half minute fragment from an unproduced Hitchcock script and his obsession with bringing it to the screen. “It’s one thing to preserve a film that has been made,” Scorsese says. “It’s another to preserve a film that has not been made.”
The “preserved” fragment, The Key to Reserva, is presented as a film within the film. Bernard Hermann’s ominous music from North By Northwest sets the tone. The romantic leads look something like Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. Hitchcock aficianados will spot references to a number of the master’s classic films from the 1950s, including Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Vertigo. The Key to Reserva was filmed by cinematographer Harris Savides and edited by Scorsese’s longtime collaborator Thelma Schoonmaker. The story is set in Carnegie Hall but the crew was unable to film there, so the historic concert hall had to be created digitally from photographs. Ben Grossmann of The Syndicate won a Gold Clio award for visual effects.
If you’re wondering whether Hitchcock would have been pleased by any of this, be sure to stay with the film until it’s amusing conclusion. For more of Scorsese poking fun at his own movie mania, see our feature from yesterday, “Always the Director: Martin Scorsese Spoofs Himself in Two Commercials.” And if you want to see some real Hitchcock films, don’t miss our collection of 20 Free Alfred Hitchcock Films Online.